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

e by and large aware that this is a problematic medication," he said. "Short-term use for the relief of an acute muscle injury is a very reasonable thing to do. In fact, it probably speeds up the healing process. But it's relatively addictive. Not as much as cigarettes. But addictive in the way that you might say Michael Jackson was addicted to sleep medicine," explained Brodsky, who is also medical director of the Bridges to Recovery program in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

"Which means that, typically, people start taking it innocently. They have an injury, so they get a 10- or 14-day prescription. And they like the effect. They feel calm. They sleep well. They may even get a subjective sense of emotional well-being," Brodsky added. "And so they continue it inappropriately, and often combine it with other medications, particularly other sedatives. In that way it's very similar to the problem with traditional prescription painkillers like codeine, Vicodin, Percocet, or morphine," he noted.

"So this report is not a good sign, because it suggests that the upswing in the abuse of this drug is part of a tidal wave of change, a shift away from concern over illicit drugs to a major concern over prescription drug uses, misuses and abuses. It's definitely not good news," Brodsky said.

More information

For more on carisoprodol, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

SOURCES: Peter Delany, Ph.D., LCSW-C, director, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality; Michael Brodsky, M.D., psychiatrist, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, and medical director, Bridges to Recovery program, Pacific Palisades, Calif.; Oct. 27, 2011, Drug Abuse Warning Network" (DAWN) Report


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