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Soma vs Zanaflex

dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:32 AM in Pain Medications
My doctor just switched me over to Soma from Zanaflex. Her rationale was because she increased my Cymbalta dose which can impact liver functions, Zanaflex also hit the liver... So eliminating Zanaflex and switching to Soma should help my liver.
I thought Zanaflex was the best muscle relaxer I ever used.
I used Soma about 20 years ago and all I remember is that it worked, but relaxed every muscle in my body, EVERY one.... So that wasnt the best...
How about others who have used both muscle relaxers?
Got any input?
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com


  • I take Xanaflex as well and have never been on Soma, but Xanaflex affects "all muscles" as much if not more than Soma - which is why it is usually muscle relaxer of choice for severe chronic spasticity such as Multiple Sclerosis or Cerebral Palsy, even over Baclofen. I read the insert on Xanaflex regarding liver toxicity and have had concerns as well - esp. since I push close to 2.5 gr+ Tylenol per day. Needless to say - don't drink!
    Wish I could offer comparison of Soma vs. Xanaflex, but IMHO Xanaflex is more powerful than Skelaxin or Flexeril.
  • I started taking Soma when I first herniated my lumbar discs and it worked very well for me. It did mellow me out and did a good job relaxing my muscle spams. When I went over to PM, my doctor changed it right away to Zanaflex. I wasn't sure why he did, but later found out that Soma was thought to be more addictive, esp when paired with Vicodin or Percocet. I can take up to 8mgs of Zanaflex 3x's day if necessary. I'm sure the Soma will help you out a lot; I did well with it and it worked for me. Take care
  • Hi Dilauro,
    I took Soma years ago, 350 mg, 4 times a day and it worked well for the RSD and muscle spasms that I had at the time.
    I took Zanaflex when the muscle spasms were horrible after my first back surgery and it worked pretty well for a long time, 4 mg, three times a day.
    If I had to compare the two, even given the two diifferent situations, they both worked well for the purpose they were given for. I think that you will be fine with the Zanaflex. I know that now a lot of doctors don't like patients on Soma, because it can be addictive, but I had no problems stopping it after being on it for 7 years.
    I switched to Baclofen last year, and in my opinion it does not work as well now as it once did. So I am going to ask my PM tomorrow to switch me back to the Zanaflex, of course, now I have to taper off the Baclofen first...should be fun.
    Anyway, I wish you much success with the new medication and that you find it works well for you.
  • Zanaflex has a very heavy impact on your liver function, one of the highest of any med I've seen. Your doc made a wise decision trying not to overload you; you did say you give blood for a liver panel every 45 days right? I'm sure you'll be fine.

    In my experience, they both work just fine, and I often find myself changing back and forth from Soma to Zflex on a random day to day type basis. Soma helps my lower back tension and spasms better, whereas the Zflex helps pretty rapidly when I feel a pulled/strained muscle w/knots in my upper back coming on.

    No problems here with Soma relaxing 'every' muscle in the body, must be a hit or miss thing. Hope it works out for you.

  • I took Zanaflex for the first time last night and it relaxed everything. The only thing that bothered me was I felt a little sick to my stomach. I took it on an empty tummy, did you guys have this problem?
  • I don't really like it to be honest. Sure it relaxes my muscles, but it made me so sleepy the first time I slept 5 hours today.
    I've been taking soma for over a year, and I will switch back tomorrow.
    My doctor switched me, because he thought the effects of soma were wearing off on me, but honestly I don't like the feel of this one.
    I've been having little burning / stinging feeling on my feet or lips and I never had that before.
    I've tried baclofen , flexeril , amrix, soma, and I really only like Soma or Amrix. I just can't afford Amrix anymore though, but for a long lasting capsule it worked well.

  • Has been a wonderful addition to my blend of medications. I take 26 to 28 mg a day depending on how I feel. I haven't ever taken Soma, but have tried Baclofen and several others, none of which produce the results that Zanaflex does.

    I don't drink alcohol and watch my Tylenol intake and get liver panels every 6 months. I hope to keep things functioning well for many moons to come.

    ButterflyPain, Zanaflex takes some adjustment time. Taking it for one day and then giving up on it is like robbing yourself of the chance of good relief. I had to start out on 2mg doses and work my way up over several months.

    broskisr, Zanaflex works differently for me depending on whether I take it on an empty or full stomach. If I take it with food, it hits me so fast it's unbelievable, so I try to avoid mealtimes. Also the capsule vs pill form is a much more stable release for me.

    Ron, good luck with the Soma. I hope it helps.

  • Do you get the upset tummy with Zanaflex? I havent tried to take it with food yet.
  • I have a bottle of Zanaflex from January 2009, Its still full. I cant take the side effects. Dry mouth, dizzy when standing just loopy. It does work for spasms. Good luck with the soma
  • Hi all,

    I got my doctor to let me try Soma today. I take zanaflex 8mg a night and sometimes 4mg during the day. The effects were wearing off it seems and I'm having hit after hit of muscle spasms from above my knee down to my ankle (not to mention my neck tightness)...I can't tell that I took the soma...took it more than an hour ago. Still having the spasms. I wonder if its ok to take my zanaflex too...I'm thinking of just taking 4mg. I don't know why its not working...I thought soma was stronger, but now think zanaflex is. I have a Rx for Amrix too, but it is pricier and currently do not have any. Oh well...I hate these spasms!!!!
  • I take 2 350mg of soma every night a bedtime. Knocks me out and works well. I could not imagine taking it during the day, I don't know if I could function.
  • thanks...I was wondering what the max dose is...I was thining of taking a 2nd or taking a zanaflex on top of it b/c it is not helping. I also take ambien though and it's time for that so I think I'll try my ambien and see if I can sleep without the muscle relaxer. Maybe tomorrow night I will try two. One sure didn't do anything...I could take it during the day. I don't see what the big deal is with abuse with soma? Why is it an abuse drug? I'm already on abusable meds unfortunately for pain, so I don't want to get addicted to something else...and I'm pretty hooked on my ambien to sleep...can't sleep without it...but that is in my head...at least its not a physical addiction. :(
  • I wouldn't recommend combining any medications without first checking with your doc.

  • Ron,
    Just curious what level of soma you are using. I was decreased last year down to 2 350 per day. Surgeon thought I maybe turning my muscles to jelly with them. But lately I can't get the spasms under control with that dose. I did use the Zanaflex as you did till we moved to max dose of cymbalta and was switched for same reasons, and it was to help with sleeping as well. I been using a third soma but just doesn't seem to be cutting it. I am using the generic label called carisoprodol, i think when i started it was brand name though. Are you having any success with them as I think it ha s been a week since you started. Until I can get a hearing, no trigger points either. GRrrr I would kill for one of those needles right now.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    So far the SOMA has been good for me. 2-350mg a day.It does take care of the spasms.
    For me the biggest difference between Soma and Zanaflex is that Zanaflex always made me SO tired, to the point I did not feel comfortable driving.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I take Soma and Zanaflax together along with Ambien for fibro. I take (4) 350 mg at night with Ambien 10mg. And during the day I take (4) Zanaflex. The soma works best when I take them with my ambien for severe pain so I can sleep, the zanflex works well for moderate pain but leaves me foggy, so I take them as needed, as opposed to 4 a day. I've tried flexiril but it didn't work for me and neither did tramadol. Sometimes u u just have to keep searching for what does work. Good Luck.
  • I'm on it right now and not too impressed with it. I'm on 500mg 3x a day. My PM doc said he would consider switching me to Zanaflex,(he said absolutely no Soma) but I would like something that I can take while working in front of a computer 8 hours a day that won't make me sleepy. Maybe I could just ask for an increase in the Robaxin dosage and see if that will help. The pills are so large and chalky.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    Rhobaxin 750mg 3x day helps but not a great deal. Its more of the type you have to keep it up for a while to notice effects. I noticed the opposite, the more I took Rhobaxin, the less it did for me.

    Zanaflex.... Yes, I like this one 4mg at night, 2mg 2x day. But it did put me out and combining with some of my other medications, I became zombiefied.

    Soma... Right now 350mg. Up to 4 a day is working fine.
    Keeps the spasms in control and I am in total control.

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Ron,
    Just wanted to say that I have been taking Zanaflex 6mg caps 3 times a day and noticed that I am really tied. The doctor told me to cut back to 2 a day, preferable at night. The caps react differently than tablets, I think they are longer lasting. I was on Soma after all my surgeries, 350mg, 3 to 4 times a day. I found that I was not as tired as I am on zanaflex, but my body was getting used to them, hence the switch. Now I think my body is getting used to the zanaflex and it is not working as well for my spasms. I have a doctor appt in January that hopefully will address this issue. Hope things stay under control and Merry Christmas.
  • I take Zanaflex 6mg caps every 6 hours and add an extra 2mg tablet at night and during times that things won't ease up. The caps seem to take a bit longer to absorb than the tablets, just watch out that you don't take them with food or just before or after you eat. Taking them with food in your stomach delays the onset of drowsiness but increases the blood plasma level of Zanaflex by 30%. Which means it can knock you on your butt harder.

    I would like to take something different one of these days, but I just get tired of trying drug after drug after drug. Like Ron, I too have taken multiple muscle relaxers and it seems to be a coin flip as to which ones will work better without building a tolerance fast.

    Good to hear from you Mark. Have a very Merry Christmas and may the New Year be kind to you!

  • I've been having horrendous spasms in my upper legs - both front AND back, right in the hamstrings - as well as in my calves, ankles, feet, toes...you name it. I started back on magnesium/malic acid, as that gave me some good relief a few years ago, but I haven't seen any major improvement yet. I've been back on Baclofen for a few months, but haven't had any major improvement with that, either; if anything, the upper leg spasms seem to have worsened.

    I saw my doc yesterday, and she had just read an article on Zanaflex, so thought it might be a great drug for me to try next for the spasms. "C", I thought you might have been on it, so I was happy to find this post. Does anybody have anything else to add, or have any of you seen any changes now that you've been on it another year since this last post?

    I appreciate your input. This drug has only been prescribed a couple of times through my pharmacist, so she has not had any feedback from anyone who uses it on a regular basis. It doesn't seem to be very popular here, possibly because of the liver issues.

    Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.

  • I took the Zanaflex for 2 years and it helped in one respect but hindered me in another. It's the drug that I got the PM doc in Seattle to help me get off of. Problems I had with Zanaflex were

    It dropped my blood pressure tremendously and then my body would try and compensate so I would wind up with a heart rate over 120 and my blood pressure bouncing from hypo to hypertensive. This would occur every 4 to 6 hours.

    It got to where I had to take mandatory Zanaflex naps and I discovered I was losing 28 to 30 hours each week by simply having to take these naps that no amount of will power could overcome.

    I had to plan my activities around the medication effects and it seriously limited me.

    I am SO GLAD to be off of it and do not plan to ever take it again. My PCP doc was not even familiar with it and I had to continue taking it until we could get me set up with a doc that knew about it and how to drop it from my medication regimen.

    It is also a drug that is hard on the liver and the list goes on. I would not feel good about recommending Zanaflex to anyone based on my experience over 2 plus years taking it.

  • I recall you and I chatting about this, but didn't realize it was the Zanaflex that was the root of the evil. I especially remember you talking about the "naps" because that was so out of the ordinary for you.

    I don't quite know what to do. Today I moved the wrong way and the spasms in the front of my thighs went haywire....grrrr!!
  • My new PM doc has me on a 3 month rotation of muscle relaxers. I will start another one in January which is good since I have pretty much reached the end of the effectiveness of the Baclofen again. I will be starting on Metaxalone next and then rotate through Amrix, Baclofen and Metaxalone at 3 months each. He said that anything more than 3 months and most become non-therapeutic and this way it should help me get relief without getting into a rut.

    Question, has your doc ever done a GAD65 blood test on you?

    When I started having so many issues with muscle spasticity, one of the docs had this blood test done, to rule out Stiffman's Syndrome.

    Just wondering.

  • I haven't had the blood test for SPS; I don't have many of the other symptoms, other than the spasticity, but it would be worth asking about.
  • I have been in severe neck, face, throat pain for 6 months. Been on here before for facet injections and cervical spine c5/c6 surgery.
    Main problem has been charlie horse type spasm in side of neck, throat and severe tinnitus in both ears.6 months.Other symptoms drs thought were just bazaar:(
    Neuro said tinnitus not possible with cervical 5/6.
    Second opinion Neuro did Mri brain discovered stroke. Oh, at least a reason. Sad to say but, I was so happy.A reason. No,ears, neck, not from stroke.
    I have been to 14 specialists, the nice ones say Im just anxious, the jerks say Im mentally unstable.
    Sorry so long. Primary does not believe neck muscles could hurt ears. I can't even use my arms!!!Ears noise heard over snowblower.
    Used Zanaflex last night 4mg. honestly muscle spasms got worse, ear screeching got worse. I was couldn't even get in to bed without help.
    Has anyone ever had zanaflex react with worse spasms?
    I thought, I prayed, someone is finally helping me. Now, I would never take another one. I was afraid. Also gave a terrible bitter taste in mouth. Anyone?
    Thanks in advance for help. I am literally at the end of my rope. This pain is wearing me down. Really bad. Thank you for concern, thanks for reading this rambling post.
  • Never have had that kind of reaction to Zanaflex, Delaney. For a while I was taking it 4 times/day with no problem other than occassional drowsiness.
    Now I take it "as needed" and have no problems.
  • Thanks Honeysmom. Im so tired of all this. I do have sensitivity to many (most) drugs. Probably why.
    Taking Klonopin again but, even that makes my legs pain. So tired of this, just the way the DRs. look at you. Like ya crawled out of the looney bin. thanks for answering. No one, emotional or not, would make up this pain. Ruined daughters wedding. If it was in my "head" I would have been fine with distraction. wasn't. thanks:(
  • I just wanted to say something about an earlier post describing Soma as a BAD BAD DRUG. This is not true. Soma has a VERY low addiction rate. The reason that physicians do not like to prescribe it is that it has a street value, when mixed with other medications such as hydrocodone or oxycodone. Soma is a skeletal muscle relaxant, which means it relaxes muscles OTHER than heart, sphincters, etc. This makes it an excellent choice for those with muscle spasms, especially chronic ones. I have taken it on an off for over 15 years with no ill effects. No stomach upset, and it does not damage the liver. It has a bad rap because of the reason given above, but that is all there is that is bad about it--when used as directed of course.
  • Have you ever been checked for a Chiari Malformation?
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