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More People Landing in the ER After Abusing Muscle Relaxant: Report
Date:11/3/2011

he drug is not currently classified by the federal government as a controlled substance.

Among the report's highlights: ER visits related to carisoprodol misuse were up across all age groups.

The most dramatic bump was seen among patients over the age of 50, whose visits tripled in the study period (from nearly 2,100 to more than 7,100 visits). Visits among those aged 35 to 49 roughly doubled (from more than 6,300 to more than 12,000).

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of carisoprodol-related ER visits due to either abuse or misuse involved at least one other prescription drug. Narcotic painkillers were the most common additional medication, found among 55 percent of visits. Benzodiazepines were the second most common, found among 47 percent of visits.

About 18 percent of visits involved carisoprodol alone, but one-quarter involved a second drug, and one-third involved two additional medications. Roughly 12 percent of ER cases involved three other drugs, while another 12 percent involved another four or more. Alcohol was implicated in 12 percent of carisoprodol-related ER visits.

What's more, over one-third of all the misuse and abuse visits (35 percent) required hospitalization of the incoming patient, the report revealed.

The SAMHSA team concluded that though carisoprodol abuse and misuse in the United States continues to be a relatively small problem, it is one that is notably on the increase.

"But in many ways this is really a provider concern," Delaney added. "So I would say that providers, whether they're prescribing it or seeing patients in the ER, need to be aware of what's going on. And they need to be asking questions, so they're really making sure that a person isn't mixing substances in a way that's going to be causing problems."

Dr. Michael Brodsky, psychiatrist at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, suggested that the SAMHSA report is both sobering and worrisome.

"First of all, doctors ar
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