Muscle Relaxers: Methocarbamol vs. Cyclobenzaprine
Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.D
Muscle relaxants like methocarbamol and cyclobenzaprine are used to treat pain caused by skeletal muscular spasms. Even though both are prescription-only drugs and appear to be identical in many aspects, they are different in a few others.
After reading this page, you will be well informed on the similarities and differences between methocarbamol and cyclobenzaprine, as well understand their adverse effects, potential drug interactions, and a lot more.
What are Robaxin and Fexmid?
Robaxin is the brand of methocarbamol - a skeletal muscle relaxant. Skeletal muscle relaxants are a class of drugs used to treat skeletal muscular spasm-related discomfort. Skeletal muscle relaxants slow down the central nervous system and block the brain from receiving pain signals. It comes as a 500 mg or 700 mg oral tablet, which is taken three to four times per day. Robaxin can also be injected intravenously and intramuscularly.
Cyclobenzaprine, sold under the trade name Fexmid, is also a skeletal muscle relaxant. There are numerous cyclobenzaprine brands; some are immediately released (Fexmid), while others are extended released (Amrix).
What are the Differences between Cyclobenzaprine and Methocarbamol?
The two drugs work in a similar way to produce a similar effect but they are different in the following ways:
Frequency of Use: Cyclobenzaprine extended-release is used only once daily, whereas methocarbamol is taken three to four times daily. The immediate-release cyclobenzaprine, however, can also be taken up to three times each day.
Duration of use: Methocarbamol can be given for long-term pain management because it is safe for long-term use. Cyclobenzaprine, on the other hand, is only used temporarily, typically for two to three weeks.
Cyclobenzamide can increase the level of serotonin and can cause serotonin syndrome if used with some drugs. Examples are:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Isocarboxide (Marplan)
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
Both methocarbamol and cyclobenzaprine can cause increased sedation when used with the following drugs:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Aripiprazole (Abilify)
- Chlorpheniramine (Aller-Chlor)
- Clomipramine (Anafranil)
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Baclofen (Gablofen)
Ask your pharmacist or doctor for possible interaction with your current medications.
What are the common side effects of cyclobenzaprine vs. methocarbamol?
Methocarbamol and cyclobenzaprine both have similar adverse effects, including fatigue, headache, nausea, and sleepiness. Contrarily, cyclobenzaprine is drowsier than methocarbamol and causes dry mouth because of its anticholinergic effects
What are some of the Precautions while taking Skeletal Muscle Relaxants?
Skeletal muscle relaxants are sedatives, thus after using them, avoid operating heavy machinery.
- Pregnant women and small children should use methocarbamol and cyclobenzaprine with extreme caution.
- You shouldn't take it with CNS depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines because they can make you more drowsy or dizzy.
- To reduce the risk of stomach upset, take them with food.
- To avoid withdrawal symptoms, avoid sudden discontinuation.
- In patients with a history of seizures, use the injection with extreme caution.
- In the elderly, they are poorly tolerated.
Which is cheaper - cyclobenzaprine or methocarbamol?
Depending on where you get them and the dosage form, the retail price for methocarbamol can cost up to $40 for 100 tablets and cyclobenzaprine 100 tablets can cost up to $55 without health insurance. But since you can save up to 88% on your drugs with rxless you don't have to spend that much. Download or text yourself the free rxless discount card, which is accepted at more than 70,000 pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aids, and start saving today.