Brief Overview of Zanaflex
Zanaflex is a muscle relaxant that is commonly used in the treatment of spasticity - a condition that induces muscle spasms and cramps, causing tightness, stiffness and pain in and around the affected muscles and joints. Spasticity is usually caused either by an underlying disease affecting the central nervous system or by a spinal injury. Multiple sclerosis is among the leading causes of this condition. Zanaflex can be applied to temporary relieve most of the symptoms affecting skeletal muscles, allowing the patient to perform daily activities in relative comfort. A single dose of Zanaflex usually lasts for no longer than 6 hours, making it necessary to reserve the designated doses for during the day, when the strain on the muscles is most apparent. As is the case with all muscle relaxants, Zanaflex does not actually treat the underlying condition. Instead, its use allows the patient to carry out other types of treatment that usually involve physical therapy and exercise. Performing any type of therapy is nearly impossible without a preemptive suppression of symptoms. This drug is mostly tolerated well, yet several side effects, such as drowsiness and mouth dryness, can frequently surface. These reactions may be minor, but under certain circumstances they may lead to worsening of the patient's condition if not handled properly.
This drug is only available via a prescription, whether you buy Zanaflex online or purchase it locally.
The reason for it is a set of precautions that partially restrict the availability of Zanaflex to patients with certain medical conditions:
- Allergies to tizanidine - a person with allergies to the active ingredient within the drug should refrain from using Zanaflex;
- If you are taking ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or fluvoxamine - either of these medications will interact with Zanaflex and affect the treatment;
- Kidney or liver disease - Zanaflex is very quickly absorbed by the body, meaning that at certain point there is a very high concentration of the drug in the blood, which can prove to be potentially dangerous if the function of liver or kidneys is impeded.
- History of "Long QT syndrome" - a heart condition that increases the risk of irregular heartbeat and thus sudden reduction in blood pressure, which may cause fainting and loss of consciousness if combined with a common side effect of Zanaflex - drowsiness.
Zanaflex Dosage Details
There are many things that are used to determine the exact amounts of Zanaflex to be taken in a particular patient's case, but all of the adjustments are made on the base of a single starting dosage:
- To treat spasticity, 4mg of Zanaflex are taken every 5 to 8 hours, as needed, up to a maximum of 3 doses (12mg) over a period of 24 hours.
Factors that further influence the adjustment of dosage may include your age, weight, the type and severity of your condition, as well as on any other medications you may be taking or any other medical conditions you may have. Your response to the treatment also plays a significant role in further dosage adjustments, whether at start or during the course of therapy.
Basic Pharmacology of Zanaflex
Zanaflex belongs to the class of drugs known as alpha-2 adrenergic agonists. When used, these drugs do not influence the muscles directly. Instead, they produces a systemic reaction by stimulating certain receptors found in the brain and the spinal cord (so called alpha-2 receptors), inhibiting the function of motor neurons - specific nerve cells that control muscles both directly and indirectly. When their function becomes impeded, this automatically signals various skeletal muscles in the body to relax, allowing to relieve muscle spasms and cramps caused by constant contraction and tightening of these muscles. Note that the pharmacologic function of this drug allows these effects to last only for a few hours, steadily decreasing in potency thereafter. Zanaflex is taken on an "as needed" basis, but there is a limit to how many pills a patient can take in a lapse of 24 hours. Usually, this means that Zanaflex should be reserved for the time when the patient performs most of his or her daily physical activities which for the majority of people is 7 am to 6 pm.
Because of this, the patient should try to follow several simple directions that will ensure both safety and effectiveness of treatment:
- Zanaflex comes in the form of tablets or capsules. Note that the formulation is different for each type, making them not interchangeable even if the mass of the active ingredient is indicated as the same. Make sure you purchase the right dosage and formulation if you buy Zanaflex online or from a local pharmacy.
- You will most likely be instructed to start at the lowest dosage possible and then gradually increase the amount of Zanaflex you take until you feel all the symptoms have subsided. It is important to continue taking your medication as prescribed, even if you do not experience any adverse symptoms anymore.
- Zanaflex may make you feel unusually tired or drowsy, limiting your alertness and ability to concentrate. Keep this in mind when first starting to use the drug, and try to avoid perfuming any tasks that require focus and alertness, such as driving or operating machinery;
- You may choose to take Zanaflex either with or without food. In either case, once you have made the decision, you should continue taking the pills in the same fashion.
Zanaflex Side Effects and Reactions
As is the case with any medication, under certain circumstances Zanaflex may produce several unpleasant side effects.
Most of these reactions do not require any additional medical assistance, but still should be pointed out and dealt with if the reason for their surfacing can be determined:
- Dizziness or drowsiness,
- Weakness, tiredness, unexplained exhaustion;
- Loss of appetite, lack of energy, apathy;
- Depression, nervousness;
- Heartburn, stomach pain, constipation;
- Rash, sweating;
- Dry mouth;
If any of these side effects persist or worsen, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible and ask for instructions. You may need to adjust your dosage or temporary suspend the treatment. In rare cases patients may experience more serious reactions that require immediate medical attention.
These reactions are highly infrequent but you should still be aware of the possible side effects in order to react to them properly:
- Vision changes, blurring;
- Slow heartbeat, unexplained low blood pressure;
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice);
- Visual or auditory hallucinations;
- Increased muscle spasm intensity.