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Skelaxin vs. Flexeril: Muscle Relaxants for Pain Mitigation

A wide number of triggers can lead to muscle spasms. Musculoskeletal conditions are the commonest ones, yet neurological causes are associated with the issue as well. Whatever the underlying causes are, they typically result in tenderness that is localized, movement limitation, significant pain and disability as a result. Luckily, there are helpful muscle relaxants prescribed to eliminate any kind of pain. Skelaxin vs. Flexeril – the two that are viewed as the most effective these days.

Skelaxin vs. Flexeril: How Do They Work?


Skelaxin (Metaxalone) proves its efficacy in a case of pain that results from sprains and strains as well as many other musculoskeletal conditions. And though it is regarded as a fast-working treatment option, its action mode is still not clearly identified. Most experts agree to the idea that its active elements block the pain sensations and/or nerve impulses in the brain. You are prescribed Skelaxin when you have any of the following conditions:

  • Neck pain;
  • Low back pain;
  • Muscle spasms;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Spasticity in cerebral palsy;
  • Myofascial pain syndrome;
  • Intensive headache.

flexerilAs to Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine), it’s another potent muscle relaxant that relieves musculoskeletal pains and/or spasms triggered by various musculoskeletal conditions. The provided relief is always very effective. Unlike most other similar meds, Flexeril doesn’t affect the actual muscles or spinal cord but works on the brain stem. If your pain is related to spinal cord and brain issues, the medication is no use. Flexeril is mostly prescribed for cases of muscle injuries and chronic pains.

! Recent studies proved that Flexeril also improves the sleep quality.

Available strengths of Skelaxin vs. Flexeril are different. The former drug is available in one strength only – 800 mg. Some time ago, the 400 mg strength was available as well, yet later on, the production was stopped. Flexeril comes in 5 mg and 10 mg doses.

When and How to Take Skelaxin vs. Flexeril

800 mg of Skelaxin are typically administered around 3-4 times daily. Taking more than 800 mg per day is strictly forbidden. These tablets are proven to be more effective when administered on an empty stomach. The administration of the drug with foods increases its effectiveness. However, a small snack is possible. The safety of the drug in children hasn’t been studied yet. Today the youngest patient should not be less than 12 years old.

General considerations:

  • Skelaxin is available in a tablet form. Tablets are taken around 2-3 weeks. The duration of a treatment course can be decreased or increased depending on the severity of pain;
  • The medication can be taken with or without foods, yet food always increases the levels of the drug in the blood making a patient more prone to various side effects;
  • It is a must to take it according to prescription.

Flexeril is administered by mouth. It is suggested to start with a 5 mg dose administered three times daily. Specialists recommend taking the extended-release capsules once daily. However, the dose can be increased if no significant improvements are noticed. The treatment course is generally not long as the peak results are achieved within first few days. Patients, who are over 65 years old, are always prescribed lower doses to escape serious health complications. Patients with liver conditions should have their doses adjusted.

The medication is approved for children above 12 years old. The dosage remains the same as for adults.

General considerations:

  • Flexeril is available in a tablet or extended-release capsule form. Tablets are taken around 2-3 weeks. The duration of a treatment course can be decreased or increased depending on the severity of pain;
  • Patients, who experience discomfort after the intake on an empty stomach (the drug bothers the stomach) are allowed to take it with foods;
  • The medication is known for causing drowsiness, which is why most healthcare providers suggest taking it only before going to bed;
  • It is a must to take it according to prescription.

Use of Skelaxin vs. Flexeril: Contraindications


Skelaxin must be taken with great care by patients with the liver issue or any pre-existing liver damage. The recent liver studies have shown that its active components can contribute to issue development. False-positive Benedict’s tests have been noted due to an unknown reducing substance. The findings are differentiated by a glucose-specific test. The administration of Skelaxin with food enhances the CNS depression, especially in older people.

Some other contraindications are:

  1. Significantly impaired hepatic function;
  2. Significantly impaired renal function;
  3. Known tendency to hemolytic, induced and other anemias;
  4. Hypersensitivity to the product’s components.

Skelaxin in pregnancy. The reproduction studies were conducted in rats only. They haven’t shown any revealed evidence of harm to the fetus or impaired fertility related to the administration of Skelaxin. Further studies haven’t found any evidence of fetal injury either. However, possibilities are not excluded. This is why women, who are trying to conceive or those, who are already pregnant, are not suggested to administer Skelaxin on a regular basis unless benefits exceed the hazards.

Skelaxin during breastfeeding. Unfortunately, it remains unclear whether the drug is secreted in human milk. Nursing mothers are not recommended to take Skelaxin because many similar medications are excreted and lead to hazards.

Flexeril must be taken with great care by patients, who suffer from the following conditions:

  • Hyperthyroidism;
  • Hypersensitivity to Flexeril’s components;
  • Acute recovery phase of myocardial infarction;
  • Arrhythmias;
  • Congestive heart failure;
  • Heart block;
  • Conduction disturbances.

If a patient takes monoamine oxidase inhibitors, he is not prescribed Flexeril due to severe side effects that occur. There were reported cases of hyper pyretic crisis seizures and deaths in patients, who took Flexeril along with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO).

Flexeril in pregnancy. The drug belongs to the B category. Recent studies in mice, rats and rabbits showed no evidence of harm to the fetus or impaired infertility caused by Flexeril. Uncontrolled women studies were conducted as well. Their results remain unclear. Today women, who are trying to conceive and those, who are already pregnant, are not recommended to administer Flexeril unless benefits exceed the hazards.

Flexeril during breastfeeding. It remains unclear whether the drug is excreted in human milk. The drug is closely related to tricyclic antidepressants. Some of them are known for being excreted in human milk. This is why caution must be exercised when Flexeril is taken by a nursing woman.

When comparing Skelaxin vs. Flexeril, it’s obvious that they have much in common: they both should better be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Yet differences are present, too.

Reviews of Skelaxin and Flexeril Side Effects

Both medications, as well as any other prescription drugs, can trigger minor and serious side effects. The first ones are safe and vanish on their own after the body gets used to the new drug in its system. The latter ones occur if the drug is administered regardless of prescription OR the taken doses are higher than allowed.

Common side effects

Skelaxin can make a patient experience:

  • Nervousness;
  • Mild dizziness;
  • Indigestion;
  • Minor sleepiness;

Flexeril can trigger:

  • Dizziness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Constipation;
  • Dry mouth.

As to serious health complications, both drugs can lead to:

  • Breathing problems and irregular heartbeat;
  • Chest pain;
  • Severe headache or fever;
  • Allergic reactions or seizures;
  • Nausea or trouble urinating.

Skelaxin vs. Flexeril Conclusion

Both medications have three key benefits. Skelaxin vs. Flexeril treat muscle spasms, reduce any related pain, and alleviate tender and any related problems. However, there are several key differences between them, too. Flexeril has the most proof of being highly effective, while Skelaxin is less likely to cause drowsiness. Skelaxin is also more expensive than Flexeril, yet the latter one can’t be used by patients, who can’t tolerate the drug’s sedative properties.

Both drugs are highly effective. The choice depends on your budget and the underlying health conditions. If you have liver issues, you should choose Flexeril instead of Skelaxin. And in case you suffer from heart conditions, Skelaxin is a better choice than Flexeril.