Zanaflex is a prescription medication used to treat the spasms or increased muscle tone caused by multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is disease characterized by nerve malfunction. Patients suffering from MS commonly experience numbing, weakness, lack of muscle control, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control. Zanaflex may also be prescribed for patients who have suffered a stroke or are dealing with a brain or spinal injury. It is in a class of medications known as skeletal muscle relaxants, and Zanaflex works by slowing actions in the brain and nervous system which allows muscles to relax.
Zanaflex is only available in tablet or capsule form and should be taken only by mouth. It is generally taken two to three times per day and should be taken consistently either always with or always without food. When taking Zanaflex be sure to follow the directions on the label exactly and consult your doctor regarding any questions you may have.
If you do not like swallowing pills, Zanaflex can be opened and sprinkled on soft foods such as applesauce or pudding. You should, however, consult your doctor prior to taking your pills this way because the effects of the medication when taken this way may be different than when swallowed whole. Whether the medication comes in a tablet or capsule, it is important to take it in the same form consistently. Each time you have your prescription refilled, check the bottle to make sure you have received the correct product.
When taking Zanaflex, it is likely that your doctor will start you on a low dosage and increase the medication as necessary. Always wait for your doctor to increase the dosage and do not do so on your own.
Do not stop taking Zanaflex without first consulting your doctor as doing so may have serious effects on your health. Suddenly stopping your medication may result in a tightening of your muscles or an increase in your blood pressure.
Before you begin taking a prescription of Zanaflex, you should tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications. You should also inform your doctor of your complete medical history especially any incidents of kidney or liver disease. It is also important that your doctor is made aware of any current medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements you are taking as mixing certain substances can result in bodily harm. Based on what medications you are taking, your doctor may need to adjust your Zanaflex dosage or monitor you closely for potential side effects.
Zanaflex may have different effects on pregnant women so it is important that you tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Zanaflex does have known side effects include drowsiness, so it is vital that you not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Consuming alcohol while taking Zanaflex can increase symptoms of drowsiness.
Other potential side effects include light-headedness, dizziness, or fainting when rising too quickly from a prone position. This is more common when you first start taking Zanaflex and usually goes away after a short time. When experiencing these symptoms it is important to take your time when getting out of bed, and rest in an upright position with your feet on the floor before standing up. Since Zanaflex can also cause a decrease in muscle tone, you should be careful when walking or performing any other activity that requires assistance with your posture or balance.
Zanaflex may also result in sweating, vomiting, nervousness, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, or heartburn. You may also experience nervousness, depression, back pain, or dry mouth. If any of these side effects persist, you should consult your doctor about potentially discontinuing the medication.
Some more severe side effects might include yellowing of the skin or eyes, rash, extreme tiredness, unusual bleeding or bruising, pain in the upper right part of the stomach, loss of appetite, seeing or hearing voices, or changes in vision. If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Zanaflex, you should call your doctor immediately.