Muscle relaxers

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterbee, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Anyone know the difference between skelaxin and flexeril? My doctor prescribed skelaxin but my insurance company requires prior-authorization (on EVERYTHING) and the pharmacist said they will probably make me take flexeril.

    I'm having horrible muscle cramps all over my body. Literally. Around my ribs, back, right hip, buttock, thigh and calf (stretched in my sleep yesterday and ended up with a charlie horse in my right calf that had my foot pulled into a ballet point) and even in my throat. That one's a bit disconcerting. The skelaxin is working (doctor gave me samples). Flexeril has a generic while skelaxin doesn't which is what the insurance has issues with.

    I'm wondering if one is better than the other or what the difference is - if anyone knows. I already asked the pharmacist and they are both ok to take with my other medications.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Haven't heard of them.

    I do recall something about how muscle cramps and spasms like that can be caused by a calcium deficiency. Are you taking a supplement? Have you been tested?
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I had blood drawn today to check electrolytes, etc. I'm on an ace inhibitor (blood pressure medication) with a diuretic so it's standard procedure. I am kinda worried about my potassium with the cramps and am amping up my bananas, yogurt, watermelon and potatoes. But, I also started taking prilosec recently for GERD and was just reading possible adverse reactions and it listed muscle cramps. I have a tendency for them anyway, but not to this extreme. If the blood work comes back ok, we'll probably have to look at switching the prilosec to something else and see if that does anything. Who knows...with all the medications I'm on it's a cr@pshoot.

    I was comparing on rx list and it seems that flexeril has more drowsiness issues and more cardiac precautions compared to skelaxin. I'll make sure my doctor knows about this.
  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hubby was on skelaxin for a while after a car accident. It made him feel "antsy", and since he had ADD, antsy is the last thing he needs. He didn't remember much else about it.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Hope you can get your authorization for what's working for you.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I take flexeril for the muscle spasms and tightness I get due to my Muscular Dystrophy. Actually, I take the generic, which is cyclobenzaprine. It generally does not make me antsy. If I take it and get antsy I know it is time to go to sleep. It really makes a difference in the knots and spasms. I remember the first time I took one the night before I saw my massage therapist. She grabbed the tight muscle that always bothers me and said "What did you do???" She could really tell.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Flexeril never did anything for me. Even in high school when the idiot doctor had me taking 4 at a time.

    Most people are made drowsy by them, but they do help with muscle spasms. They are pretty mild though.

    Skelaxin is a "skeletal" muscle relaxer, from what I remember. It is supposed to not make you as drowsy. I have seen it on lists of "most ineffective medicines" but it is still often prescribed.

    Soma (carisoprodol) is much more powerful. I am sure you will have to try each of these and MAYBE they will prescribe this. I have a doctor who has SEEN my muscle cramps and I have a standing order for it. It helps far more for me than the other 2.

    Robaxin (meprobamate) is somewhere between skelaxin and soma in strength. It will make you drowsy. Some people have great results from it.

    Zanaflex is what the docs in sports medication use for major athletes and college athletes who are hurt in games. It is pretty expensive, or used to be a couple of years ago. They say it is a 6 step medication - don't take it if you are more than 6 steps from your bed and don't have 6 hours to sleep it off. I had decent results from it.

    Do NOT drive while taking muscle relaxers. ANY of them - until you KNOW how you will react. Do NOT drink at ALL while taking them.. It can suppress your breathing.

    I hoep you can get one that will work. I do know many people who take flexeril and have good results, I just have always reacted oddly to many medications, esp those who are supposed to make you drowsy or sleepy as a side effect.

    Start low and go slow on the dose!
  7. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Well, I thought the skelaxin was helping, but I was awakened from the sleep it put me into because my esophagus is tight. That is just the stupidest place to get muscle cramps.

    I'm sick of all of these medications. I'm ready to pitch them all and say start over.

    If it says it's going to make you drowsy, chances are it will make me sleep. I don't drive much these days anyway...definitely don't drive if I've taken anything that will make me drowsy or loopy. And I haven't had alcohol since December. Don't even have any alcohol whatsoever in the house. (Why bother? Can't drink it with most of my medications anyway.) Maybe that's the problem. :tongue:
  8. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Thanks for the information. I worry about muscle relaxers with my heart. You know, for someone who hates taking medications, I'm sure on a bunch. :sick:
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I think I've taken the Flexeril for kidney/bladder spasms. It worked. Hard to tell if it made me drowsy as I was also on some heavy duty pain medications at the time.

    Can't recall if I've ever taken Skelaxin. Possible but not sure. I know I've heard of it. Might have had it for the broken shoulder. I got muscle spasms (horrendous) about 6 days into healing. I swear they hurt more than the break. But again, I'd not know about drowsiness as doctor also had me on mega doses of pain medications.

    Sorry. Wasn't alot of help. If easy child was home I'd give her a call and ask. But she's working tonight.

  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think I have tried darn near all the muscle relaxers out there and am currently on flexeril but it is really useless for me. I prefer the zanaflex and intend to talk to the doctor about switching back to it next appointment. You might want to actually ask your doctor about zanaflex because you seem to be having spasms instead of just needing to relax your muscles. Zanaflex is an anti-spasmodic instead of a muscle relaxer.
  11. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Flexeril is pretty cheap, so your insurance will probably want to give that a try at some time. Don't you love how insurances prescribe for us?
  12. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Janet - I have both spasms and cramps and spasms that become cramps. It's never boring. The one around my ribs gets so bulged up that it looks like I have 2 boobs - one right on top of the other.

    Witz - The pharmacist said they'll probably make me try the flexeril first. This insurance requires pre-approval on *everything*. It's so annoying. I have a complicated medical history and a lot of medications....they really need to leave it up to my doctor. The flexeril makes me nervous with my heart and BiPolar (BP) issues. I haven't looked at the other ones in that regard - just the flexeril and skelaxin.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Can you look up online their formulary? I have aetna for my Plan D and it has this formulary that can be found online...they also send out this book once a year. Mine has tiers and some things are prior authorization too. Also some are things that have to be used only after other things have been tried. Its a bunch of red tape.
  14. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    My doctor gave me Skelatin because he said it is less drowsy. Working nights is tough enough and Flexerall makes you very sleepy.

    I did call doctor back and asked for Flexerall, the Skelatin did absolutely nothing for me.

    Good luck
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I've taken Zanalfex to help with my headaches in the past. I had some weird dreams with it. It made me a little sleepy...nothing too bad though. I have pelvic pain from time to time and one of my doctor likes to give valium for that. This definately makes me slelepy. My gyno just gave me Flexeril for the pelvic pain...again sleepiness...but I think it works better than the valium, but the other doctor is actually more of an expert and says that valium is the preferred medication for pelvic pain.
    Now, I'm curious about the Skelaxin or Soma.
    I had the pelvic pain late yesterday afternoon, and I laid down for an hour with a heating pad and it was much better. Then, before bed I took a Flexeril and a Potassium supplement (have no idea if this will help???). This morning, I feel better. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get through the day with-o pain.
  16. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I can tell you the reason some medications need auth from doctor's office (like the prescription isn't good enough). Skelaxin is probably a more expensive drug and if there is no generic for it, it's on the higher tiered medicine. The ins companies want patients to try the lower tiered medications first before they kick out the dough for a higher tiered medication.

    I use Robaxin for my muscle spasms in my back. I need to take two. The generic isn't coated like Robaxin is and it's very hard to get down and it's bitter. I only take them when the spasms are unbearable.
  17. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    A quarter tablet of flexiril knocks me out when I take it for my jaw pain (tmj/bruxism). I use it only a few times a year when the pain is unbearable as I'm sure I'd sleep through an emergency.
  18. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    The insurance is going to make me do flexeril. Guess we'll see how it goes.

    The bloodwork came back. Potassium is fine, but my salt is low so they're taking me off the diuretic. My salt has always been on the low end anyway. In 2003, a psychiatrist did some blood work and told me I needed to eat more salt. That's something you don't normally hear. I'll tell my doctor about that in case there could be a medical reason for my salt to always be on the low end and dropping below that.

    I'm probably going to have to go back in. They didn't realize that the muscle cramps were such that they were visible. Plus, my BiPolar (BP) is still high even with the medications. I did ask about the prilosec and the possible connection with the muscle cramps and she was going to ask the doctor about all that.

    Oh, and my cholesterol is high so they'll probably be doing something with my statin, too.

    The fun just never ends.
  19. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    So, the flexeril took 2 hours to kick in at all and I'm still cramping. And it's giving me horrendous GERD issues. The prilosec has been working, but I've had to take maalox twice already in the 2 hours since I've taken it and am getting ready to take some more. My GERD issues weren't this bad BEFORE the prilosec. The first one came on so fast and was so intense, I thought it was my heart. Pain and tightening in the throat, pain in my back, in my teeth and ears (my heart attack symptoms). But, I took the maalox first just to be sure and it helped. I was about 2 minutes from having easy child take me to the ER. It was that intense.


    The dose is 10mg and says to take one pill up to three times per day. I think I'm going to have to take a second dose. Of course, then I'll probably sleep for a day and I have to take Baby Kitty to the vet in the morning for a steroid shot for her autoimmune flare up. Oh, well. easy child can take her. He's done it before.