Methocarbamol is a centrally acting muscle relaxant, which doctors primarily use for treating musculoskeletal pain. Possible side effects may include lightheadedness, drowsiness, and dizziness.

However, there is a lack of research on methocarbamol’s efficacy compared to a placebo or alternative medications.

Methocarbamol also has several adverse effects, and a person is at risk of developing an addiction to the medication. Therefore, people should be careful when using methocarbamol.

This article discusses methocarbamol in more detail, including its uses, how it might work, and its side effects. It also explores some health considerations and answers some common questions about methocarbamol.

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Methocarbamol is a skeletal muscle relaxant that is centrally acting. These types of muscle relaxants act on the brain or spine and prevent muscle spasms.

Scientists developed methocarbamol to help with acute musculoskeletal pain. Methocarbamol may prevent pain by reducing the frequency of muscle spasms, which can be both uncomfortable and painful. Some doctors may also prescribe methocarbamol off-label for conditions such as:

It was once fairly common for doctors to use methocarbamol to treat tetanus. However, this is no longer the usual line of treatment, and benzodiazepines have replaced methocarbamol. Additionally, methocarbamol is largely ineffective for treating musculoskeletal issues that originate from an injury to upper motor neurons.

It is important to note that, even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of methocarbamol in 1957, there is little high quality research on its efficacy. For example, scientists have not produced many studies, or meta-analyses, that compare methocarbamol’s effects with those of a placebo.

As a 2021 article explains, scientists remain uncertain about the exact mechanisms through which methocarbamol achieves its effects. However, they are confident that methocarbamol acts on the brain rather than the spine.

A few different mechanisms could be at work. For example, some scientists hypothesize that methocarbamol may block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in a part of the brainstem called the reticular activating system. However, further research is necessary before scientists can be confident about how methocarbamol works.

Doctors may prescribe methocarbamol for various forms of musculoskeletal pain. Before prescribing methocarbamol to someone, a doctor will consider the possible benefits of this medication with its adverse effects.

The most common side effects of methocarbamol include:

After taking methocarbamol orally or via an intramuscular (IM) or intravenous (IV) route, some people also develop the following side effects:

Other side effects of methocarbamol seem specific to the route through which a person takes it. For example, there are reports of anorexia following the oral administration of this medication. As for IM or IV injections of methocarbamol, the following side effects may arise:

Anyone who is taking methocarbamol should contact a doctor if they develop any of the above side effects or an allergic reaction.

Similar to any medication, several health considerations surround methocarbamol.

For example, certain groups of people should not take methocarbamol. These groups include:

  • people who have previously had a negative reaction to the drug
  • certain individuals with kidney impairments
  • people over 65 years

Additionally, healthcare professionals will carefully consider whether or not to prescribe methocarbamol to people with a history of drug dependence. This is because methocarbamol has somewhat high misuse potential.

Scientists also recommend that people should not take methocarbamol if they are taking certain other medications, including:

It is possible to overdose on methocarbamol. Symptoms of a methocarbamol overdose include:

Methocarbamol overdoses can be fatal. Anyone experiencing symptoms of a drug overdose should seek medical attention immediately.

Below are some of the most common questions and answers about methocarbamol.

Can methocarbamol make a person sleepy?

Methocarbamol can make people drowsy. It is one of the most common side effects of this drug.

Drowsiness can feel similar to sleepiness.

Is methocarbamol the same as ibuprofen?

Ibuprofen is a drug that can treat a variety of inflammatory conditions. It is not the same as methocarbamol — it is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Methocarbamol does not contain ibuprofen, and ibuprofen does not contain methocarbamol.

Is methocarbamol good for anxiety?

There is no evidence that methocarbamol can help to relieve symptoms of anxiety.

Doctors may prescribe methocarbamol to manage and treat musculoskeletal pain. Although it is a well-established medication, further research is necessary to confirm its efficacy.

This drug also comes with several potential side effects, some of which are serious. Therefore, a doctor will carefully assess a person’s medical history before prescribing methocarbamol.

A person should speak with a healthcare professional if they experience adverse side effects or an allergic reaction after taking methocarbamol.