What Is Carisoprodol Used For?
Carisoprodol is used for treating muscle spasms caused by injury or other muscle problems. It is a prescription muscle relaxant intended to be used for a maximum of two or three weeks at a time. Occasionally, it can also be used "off-label" to help relieve fibromyalgia pain. Carisoprodol uses are only approved for adults and children age 16 and over.
Carisoprodol (Soma®) is a prescription medication classified as a muscle relaxant. As a muscle relaxant, carisoprodol can help relieve the discomfort caused by muscle spasms.
A muscle spasm is an uncontrollable contraction of a muscle. Muscle spasms can cause pain, tenderness, and stiffness. Sometimes muscles spasms in the neck can cause headaches. Muscle spasms are a frequent cause of back pain.
Most often, muscle spasms are caused by injury, overuse, or similar problems (like sleeping in a strange position). Carisoprodol usually works well for these types of muscle spasms. It is intended to be used generally for a maximum of two to three weeks at a time. This should be enough time to allow any muscle injury or damage to heal. If you feel that the problem has not improved after two or three weeks, check with your healthcare provider. You may have an ongoing problem that needs to be treated differently.
Even though carisoprodol is not a controlled substance, it has significant potential to be abused (see Soma Abuse). If you have problems with alcohol or drug abuse, carisoprodol may not be a good choice for you. A different muscle relaxant with less abuse potential would be more appropriate.
It is not known exactly how carisoprodol works to relieve muscle spasms. However, it is known that it works mostly in the brain stem and spinal cord and not directly on the muscles. Also, the liver metabolizes carisoprodol into meprobamate, a barbiturate medication with anti-anxiety and sedative properties. It is thought that it is this metabolite that contributes to the abuse potential of carisoprodol. Interestingly, although meprobamate is a controlled substance in the United States, carisoprodol is not categorized as a controlled substance.