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Anyone tried to stop FLEXERIL after long term use?
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Anyone tried to stop FLEXERIL after long term use?

I have been prescribed Flexeril for over a year, as a muscle relaxant for long term back and neck pain...  I was told it was a 'safe' drug, and not to worry about it - it was not addicting. Now, after taking it for this long, I have re-read the patient information packet, and see that it is only for short term use, and I cannot find information on how to titrate off.

I get migraine headaches whenever I stop taking it for any length of time, as well as other symptoms...  Can anyone help me with their experience, referrals to information sources, or even to experts who have the infomation I seek?

thank you in advance,  Sassisu
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356518_tn?1322267242
One of the side effects of stopping the drug after taking it for a prolonged period is headaches. I would suggest  dose at a small amount each day. How much are you currently taking?
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Hi Sassisu,

I am glad that you found us at MedHelp. And sorry to hear about your experience with Flexeril. I have not heard of any dependency issues of that drug before. It does make sense that your body can become accustom to any medication.

Have you discussed this with your PCP? As Sandee said I don't know how many you are taking per day not the dose. I think I would just gradually reduce this medication. Are you sure the migraines are related to the discontinuation of the medication....or could their be another factor going on?

I did do some research on www regarding withdrawal from Flexeril. What I found is that "Withdrawal Symptoms" can occur after abrupt cessation of treatment after prolonged administration. I guess a year would qualify. Withdrawal symptoms may include, nausea, headache and malaise. But these are not indicative of addiction. Malaise is a medical term for just feeling punk and tired.

I did not find any information that indicated that the w/d could be dangerous. It sounds as if it is just uncomfortable and will take some time but again I would discuss this with your PCP. He/she may be able to give you something to ease the symptoms.

Good luck to you  and thanks for sharing. I learn every day and this is certainly something I did not know. Take Care, Tuck

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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you Sandee and Tuck,  for your quick responses...

I know the addiction/dependence question is probably not at issue, however, I do think that the withdrawal may be related to the flexeril, as I have tried to weed out any other of life's influences as well as I can.  I have been taking two to three 10 mg tablets a day, to help me stay away from Norco, and the rest of the opioid family...  

and now I would like to stopt the flexeril... It is apparently much like the old tricyclic antidepressants imipramine and desipramine... so I wonder what kind of titration was used for them...?

thanks again for you help and support
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547368_tn?1332173665
I cannot find anything on Flexeril titratation.  I doubt it has been a major issue because it is not considered to be addictive and obviously it is not a controlled substance.

The old tricyclic's were discontinued by reducing dosage gradually over a several week period. I don't think that Flexeril can be compared to the trycylics, not even close.

I cannot find anything that says you are in any danger if your discontinue Flexeril abruptly....and that's the difference with the other drugs you have mentioned. However I am not a pharmacist and that is who I think you should consult.

You're welcome and good luck. We're here if you need us.
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Avatar_m_tn
instead of titration perhaps you could just try taking ibuprofen for the headaches

nick
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Avatar_m_tn
The withdrawal from the stopping of Flexoril has been the most horrible "cluster/migraine" headaches i have ever felt...especially upon wakening.
It has been going on for a week+-i can't stand it much longer
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been taking Flexeril 10mg/day for 2 1/2 years.  I have decided to stop taking it as I am concerned about side effects like the blurred vision.  (Yeah, I know it took me awhile to figure this out!).  I stopped taking it for 3 days and got the worst headache, like an axe in my head.  It kept me up all night and l also had other unusual symptoms.   I decided I was kind of an idiot for stopping it cold turkey like that.  I took a half tab (approx. 5 mg) and my headache stopped after an hour.  That was this morning. I am planning to take 1/2 tab/day for 2 weeks, then go to 1/2 tab every other day for 2 weeks and then 1/2 tab every 3rd day for 2 weeks.  I hope it works.  I'll let you know.  Thanks! Missy
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874521_tn?1375890587
I am surprised 2c all the comments on withdrwal frm flexeril, I guess I am the exception, I took this drug 4 at least 5 years and maybe it did help at the first...than I realized flexeril was really not improving any relief to the muscle pain I was suffering. So I just stopped, no headaches, no nausea, no added muscle pain....it was as if I had been taking candy all those years( 10 mg bid)
good luck
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914696_tn?1283730992
Blurred vision?  Maybe I don't need new glasses?  I've been prescribed 10 mg Flexeril 3 times a day for low back pain.  Been taking it for a few years now.  Can't seem to remember to take the third one in the middle of the day so really only 20 mg daily.  My vision seems to have gotten worse.  I think I'll try quitting though to see if it improves.  I tried to stop once before but I felt achy all over so went back to taking them.  I'll try to be "braver" this time.  Thanks for the tip.  [Looks like I need to re-read the side effects again myself too]
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Avatar_f_tn
HI again,

Thanks for the suggestions, however I must agree with Missy, an axe in the head, and no ibuprophen nor acetinophen helped me... only Father Time...  several difficult weeks.  I am happy to hear that these effects are not experienced by everyone,  and it is more proof, if proof were needed, that each of us is an individual, even down to the cellular level.  

Thanks for everyone's concern and help, and I wish everyone the best on their journey through the pain/with the pain/out of the pain?

Sassisu
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Avatar_f_tn
Oh my gosh. I also have been prescribed flexeril 3x a day for back/neck muscle spasms due to scoliosis and other unknown problems. I don't take them all of the time, but I do go through periods where I take them 3x a day for a week or so. This might be the reason for my EPIC headaches!! I had an 18 day headache, followed by a 5 day headache.

When I take it regularly, and then stop, I become VERY anxious. I have anxiety and am on medications for it, but the cessastion of flexeril makes it SO bad, that I usually just take one to make it stop.

I know it isn't a controlled substance, but I do think you can acquire dependence to it. The same with anit-depressants (ssri's in particular), as I have experienced sheer hell from stopping Paxil. I will never be able to get off of SSRI's as I have been on them since I was 10 (in 1994)...

Anyway, thank you for all the info and expiriences, it was very helpful.

-cherry
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1187071_tn?1279373298
I was on it for a long time and the only problem I had when I stopped was trying to get to sleep cause it would always make me tired and with out it I had to get use to going to sleep on my own. I would lower the doses alittle at a time and see if that will help.
Good luck to you,
Jamie
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Avatar_m_tn
My mother had been taking Flexeril for 17 years when her new doctor took her off of it with no tapering.  She has been going through severe discontinuation syndrome (withdrawl (withdrawal)).  Everything from anxiety to headaches to rapid speech, disassociation and confusion to catatonia.  Everything but the Flexeril withdrawl (withdrawal) has been ruled out through extensive testing.  When you are on it a long time it is certainly possible to have a dangerous withdrawl (withdrawal).  Tapering would be advisable.
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1322157_tn?1279660281
I also took flexeril for quite some time and had no ill side effects when I stopped. Hope you will be as lucky!
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Avatar_f_tn
I was prescribed a low dose Flexeril 10 mg 6 years ago and took it q pm for fibromyalgia pain. It was great for that and it took me only 3 weeks to get over the sluggish feeling in the am. However, I am in the medical field and recently read where it may possibly cause liver problems after prolonged use so I stopped it suddenly on Nov 2. and then because of traveling with other people around on that weekend I had 3 Soma's with me so I took one of them each night until I could get home on the 6th. Then I used Advil and Tylenol for severe headaches and then had N & V for 2 days. There is absolutely no doubt this feeling of malaise and the HA and etc is from the Flexeril withdrawal, I have chalked up the pain returning to not having the Flexeril in my system. I do not know what to do now.                                           Chattanooga
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 48 year old woman who has been taking flexeril for approximately 4 years, 10mg each night to help me fall asleep.  I switched 3 days ago to 5 mg to self-ween and I have had the most HORRIBLE MIGRAINE and facial numbness.  I cannot go through another day like this, I may start taking it again tonight and see if it takes away my headaches.  Does anyone have an estimated time that these withrawal symptoms go on?  PLEASE HELP!  The physicians and the pharmacists do not have a lot of info, and if I call the manufacturer, they won't either.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am in the process of rapidly stopping Flexaril, it worked for my mid-back throbbing pain spasms and that has returned.  I get the stabbing headaches, and horrible nausea which makes me run to the bathroom to hurl, especially when trying to get something in my stomach.  If I lay down during the nausea and rest, the headaches subside, but my stomach wants fed.  I get up to eat, severe nausea sets in, get a few bites down and then back to bed for awhile.  I would agree with the malaise, but I think it's mostly because of not being able to eat due to the nausea.

I stopped Paxil by moving over to the SSRI's, but could only stop them after 15 years because I was hospitalized for detox off alcohol and the Prozac went with it.  I was so happy to be free from them both.  Stupid doctors trying to put me back on the Prozac again, I got mean with mine the other day and told her I was seeking a new doctor that doesn't constantly push anti-depressants and I am in the process of replacing her.  My alcohol withdrawal was successful through propofol drip for 2 weeks and then good old fashioned 1 day at a time.  3 years sober Dec 19, 2011.

As far as inability to sleep after quitting Flexaril/cyclobezaprine, I use the natural sleep hormone, melatonin 300mcg. if you can find that strength or cut up the 1000 mg. because the less melatonin the better really, they make you sleep a long time otherwise.

I am a chronic pain sufferer and would recommend that you also visit MedHelp's Pain Management Community Here:  http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Pain-Management/show/53

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Avatar_m_tn
I have been taking tramadol for the past 3 months and hydrocodone as well. I have gotten off these before and gone through withdrawals that were horrible. I am now a grown women with a husband and a job to maintain and I don't want to take pain medication anymore. I am so tired of it, I don't care how much pain I am in anymore, I will take ibuprofen or Tylenol before I go through this again. Is there anything out there that can help with pain med withdrawals???? Please help, the only thing I know that helps is God and prayer and believe me I am doing that, but I really need help with the physical ailments. I thought I would use flexaril to help, but I am afraid that would cause withdrawals as well. Plus I don't want to jump from one thing to the other, I just want to be free from this once and for all. But to be honest going through these withdrawals almost makes me feel suicidal.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi I don't know if I am spelling correctly but have you tried suboxen..it's so you can come off opiates with no withdrawal symptoms and I think for norco lortab or other vicodens it works well..
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Avatar_f_tn
I was prescribed Fleveril for over two years straight for back pain that stems from an old spinal fracture and bone spurs. When I tried to stop, I became sick. Diarrhea every morning and throughout the day, among other things such as (i actually spent the night in the hospital after 8hours of vomiting...) blurred vision, anxiety, depression and sweating. I got a second physician to help me titrate off of the drug. I started taking 10mg once a day for a month, then 7.5 for several weeks, then 5mg, then 2.5mg. I have now been off for a month or more and my diarrhea and anxiety and sweating are still plaguing me on an all-day long basis. This is a dangerous drug that stays in your body for a long time. It should not be prescribed as a "safe, non-addictive solution for pain" As it stands, I don't know when, or if, I will ever be well again...
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Avatar_f_tn
I was prescribed Fleveril for over two years straight for back pain that stems from an old spinal fracture and bone spurs. When I tried to stop, I became sick. Diarrhea every morning and throughout the day, among other things such as (i actually spent the night in the hospital after 8hours of vomiting...) blurred vision, anxiety, depression and sweating. I got a second physician to help me titrate off of the drug. I started taking 10mg once a day for a month, then 7.5 for several weeks, then 5mg, then 2.5mg.
The 3day month long titration did not work. I have now been off for a month or more and my diarrhea and anxiety and sweating are still plaguing me on an all-day long basis. This is a dangerous drug that stays in your body for a long time. It should not be prescribed as a "safe, non-addictive solution for pain" As it stands, I don't know when, or if, I will ever be well again...
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Avatar_f_tn
I, too, have experienced GREAT difficulty trying to stop Flexeril after 10 mg per night for two years.  Sweats, anxiety, knots in stomach. The pharmacist said that very slow tapering was required and that it would still be difficult. Since I have terrible days when I do not sleep, I am staying on it.  So far no liver problems.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi all,

I haven't visited in a long time, and I apologize to anyone who has specifically sritten to me and waited for a response.  Hopefully, by reading all of the posts, your questions were addressed, or you were validated in your symptomology.  I am not a medical professional, so I really can't give specific advice, other than to say if you are pretty sure you are in withdrawal - and that it isn't something else happening, try to start a taper regime.  Go slowly, and you will increase your success at titrating off flexeril for good.

To anyone still interested in this forum topic, my conclusion as well as the results reported here suggest that flexeril is problematic - to say the least - to certain people, and simply not a problem at all to others.  I think more research needs to be done to finesse out the real answers, since there are so many variables that could be influencing the reactions one has.  

My take home message is to be much more cautious with Any medication, since it is not possible for every reaction to be anticipated in every person...  I just wish there were a better answer than drugs for chronic and acute pain.  I know there are many other modalities out there, like accupressure, accupuncture, massage, etc...  However, I continue to see the need for more options. Thanks everyone...  Hang it there... who know if the miracle is just around the corner?

Sassisu
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been taking flexeril for over 1.5 years. For the last 3 months I have only been taking one 10mg a day. I haven't taken any for 3 days. I am not getting headaches just mild coughing and congestion in the middle if the night, and I'm only able to sleep about four hours a night for two days. Very, very mild symptoms that only happen when I stop taking it. I have had to go through withdrawals from addictive pain killers before -- so far this doesn't even come close. It's just a little uncomfortable at night  and I am at about 75 percent energy. It doesn't seem to last long.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have taken flexeril, 10mg once daily for the last 8 years and as I get older I thought I would try to cut back on medicine I take since I haven't had any back pain for quite a while.  So I just stopped taking it figuring if my back started hurting I had a prescription I could get refilled.  So I abruptly stopped taking it about 3 weeks ago and I have had a horrible headache for about 2 1/2 weeks.  Nothing helps the head ache.  I have taken every kind of over the counter pain med and nothing makes the headache go away.  In trying to figure out what was causing the headaches, because I was ready to make a doctor appt. thinking I must have a brain tumor or something and it hit me that about 3 weeks ago I stopped the flexeril and shortly there after I started having headaches.  So I searched the web and found all the above comments which have helped greatly because I am going to refill the flexeril and start taking it again and then I am going to gradually cut back the amt. and how often I take it and see it I can get off it without the horrible headaches. If I go back on the flexeril and the headaches go away I will know that it was the flexeril.  
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Avatar_f_tn
Interesting how long this thread has been going on. I too had been on flexeril for almost 2 1/2 yrs. I stopped suddenly 2 months ago after reading the drug interactions of flexeril with norco and wellbutrin. They all effect the CNS in similar ways. I also experienced bad withdrawal symptoms but in the end it was worth getting off flexeril  because of the side of effect of muscle weakness/stiffness. Here's my two cents -
1. If you are taking other drugs, they can interact or AMPLIFY side effects so go online and do your own search to see what each of the drugs you are taking does. If you see more than one drug doing the same thing - talk to your doctor/pharmacist - you could be over medicating.
2. Also be aware of nonmeds that effect the CNS such as splenda and alcohol.
3. Additionally, try massage therapy or YOGA instead of meds. Both have made such a difference in my life. There are so many DVDs out there but the ones I liked the best are from Larry Payne, one for lower back problems, and one for upper back/neck problems.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have discontinued Flexaril after a year and a half 15 mg a day for bursitis and discovered my muscles itch and need constant stretching. I found quinine or tonic water and magnesium suplements (250 mg 2x's a day) helped quite a bit. The Flexaril did help lessen my hotflashes though. Now I am on low dose hormone treatments. kee
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Avatar_f_tn
Flexeril may increase the effects of alcohol, barbiturates, and other central nervous system depressants. There are no adequate studies on the use of Flexeril in pregnant women. It is not known if Flexeril is secreted in milk. However, because Flexeril is related to tricyclic antidepressants and some of these are excreted in breast milk, caution is advised in nursing mothers.
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Avatar_f_tn
Flexeril may increase the effects of alcohol, barbiturates, and other central nervous system depressants. There are no adequate studies on the use of Flexeril in pregnant women. It is not known if Flexeril is secreted in milk. However, because Flexeril is related to tricyclic antidepressants and some of these are excreted in breast milk, caution is advised in nursing mothers.
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Avatar_f_tn
This was in reply to your comment  "I don't think that Flexeril can be compared to the trycylics, not even close".  
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Avatar_m_tn
I've found that taking the lowest dose of Flexeril, 10 mg helps with my fibromyalgia more than any of the meds specifically prescribed.  I could not tolerate  any of them.   Key is, I only take it when I absolutely need it and at bedtime.  It relaxes my muscles and helps me sleep.  I've been doing this for the last five years.  60 tabs last me nine to twelve months.   I want to share with you, B5, Pure Pantethine helps greatly.  

Enjoy your day...
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Avatar_m_tn
so how long before the headaches stopped from the withdrawal.
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Avatar_m_tn
how long did it take patdean.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello there, I am new to this site.  I too have been on Norco and tramadol for almost 10 years.  I have tried several times to stop taking it, weaning off of it but always end up in so much pain that I stay in bed for days because of the pain.  I have thought about doing the suboxone to taper off but my fear is that I can't deal with the pain.  My DH & I have a contracting business and I have to work.  There is know one but me to do my work and I don't have paid sick time.  I also feel terrible when I don't take my meds and I can't  keep up with my family.  My meds make me normal and so I can function but I carry such guilt because society tells me I am a bad/weak person for needing them.  How did you do your off your meds?
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Avatar_m_tn
Sometimes going to an. NA meeting helps very much. Just being able to talk to other people who have gone threw it before gives you hope! The opiate withdrawal   Day three is the worst then everyday will get better.You only have to do it once! Good luck be strong
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Avatar_n_tn
I've been taking Flexeril since 1989.. it all began for Bruxism taking 10mg at bedtime.. In 2002 was diagnosed with Fibro and dose increased to 40mg at bedtime to promote sleep.  for the bulk of the time I never had a problem with extreme day time fatigue and weakness..until a year ago.. so a few months ago I cut back from 40mg to 20mg at bedtime with no symptoms of withdrawl (withdrawal) to note.  On Wednesday 7/30 I cut back from 20mg to 5mg at bedtime. Less than 72 hours later I began to experience a nasty migraine headache in the back of my head.. even my cervical neck muscles feel like they have a migraine when I turn my head.. I've had this headache since 8/1 .. today is 8/10 and I still have it. While I realize that taking more would probably eliminate the headache and could  then taper down more gently am going to try to tough it out as not having any hangover effect is quite nice.  Will try to remember to post again when the headache ceases.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I posted on 8/10/2014 that decreasing Flexeril from 20mg to 5mg gave me a nasty migraine headache.. while I was not confined to bed it was a constant nagging headache.. the headache was the worse for the first two weeks and very, very slowly subsided.. it lasted for 29 days.  Suppose that is from taking it for 25 years.  My suggestion to anybody wanting to stop or reduce their daily dose is to titrate down very, very slowly.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been on Percocet 10/325 for close to 7 years. I am also on Nucynta 100mg, Butrans Patch 10mcg, Flexeril 10mg, Lexapro 10mg and Naproxen 500mg. I recently saw a New Dr. a rheumatologist he put me on Cymbalta 30mg for 10 days then 60mg after that. When I had the Rx filled my Pharmacist said I could not take the Flexeril and Lexapro with the Cymbalta as it can cause some kind of syndrome that can be fatal. So I stopped both. A week later I saw my Pain Management/Orthopedic Surgeon and they said they were taking me off Percocet. I thought ok I don't want to be on all these drugs anymore so ok. BAD BAD BAD decision. The last 3-4 weeks have been pure HELL, from itching to rashes to body aches and headaches to being in bed for 3-4 even 5 days straight no food barely anything to drink and hardly going to bathroom, just 0 energy, add to that diarrhea, dizziness, stress, just feeling like I'm not here. Now my brain feels like it is juggling around in my head and my ears are getting that sound in them like when you get water in them after swimming. Just one thing after another. My Rheumatologist and my Pharmacist both said withdrawal from Percocet for sure and maybe the Flexeril. I will see my Pain Dr. on Monday for the 1st time since I was taken of Percocet last month. I'm so pissed/frustrated etc. I guess that is why Dr's are practicing medicine because they are not experts. All the advise I can give is if you are trying to come off any drug take your time unless you enjoy discomfort. As far as Flexeril withdrawal I believe it is an issue and needs to be treated like any other drug withdrawals. Hope this helps someone. Don't give up and don't give in.
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