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Zanaflex (Tizanidine)

Description

Zanaflex is a short-acting muscle relaxant that works by relaxing the muscle tone, therefore providing short-term relief for spasticity. This drug is used to treat spasms, tightness and cramping of the muscles that are caused by various medical conditions such as back pain, spastic diplegia or any other injuries to the central nervous system or the spine. In addition to this, the drug is also prescribed off-label for treating headaches or relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Zanaflex also works as an anticonvulsant and it can also be used as a sleep aid.

It must be mentioned that Zanaflex is not designed to cure spasticity, but to temporarily relieve its symptoms. The active ingredient in this drug is Tizanidine, which works by blocking the nerve impulses that are sent to the brain. The nerve impulses carry the pain sensation, and by blocking them the patient will not feel pain for a short period of time.

Precautions

It is not recommended to take Zanaflex if you use antibiotics and antidepressants, as the drug can interfere with other medications and cause severe adverse reactions. Moreover, you should avoid taking Zanaflex when muscle tone is required to assure proper movement and balance for particular activities, as the drug can diminish the patient's balance.

Moreover, it is highly recommended to stick to a particular form of the drug, as switching from tablets to capsules can not only decrease the therapeutic effect of the drug, but it can also increase the number and severity of the side effects. The patient must carefully follow the doctor's instructions and take the medication exactly as recommended.

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Recommendations

Zanaflex must be taken exactly as directed, and you must not take this drug in large amounts or for longer than recommended by your health care provider. Also, carefully read and follow the directions on the prescription label. Zanaflex must be taken with a full glass of water, and its effects will be noticed between one and six hours after you use it. Zanaflex must be used solely for the day-to-day activities that require temporary relief from muscle spasticity. The drug must be stored at room temperature, away from heat and moisture.

Patients must not exceed three doses a day or 36 milligrams, as too much of this drug can affect the liver - for this reason, your liver function will be tested constantly. Also, you must wait up to 8 hours to pass before you take another dose. Depending on whether you take Zanaflex as a capsule or a tablet, you will have to use the drug with food or on an empty stomach, or you may have to sprinkle the contents of the capsule on food.Your doctor will recommend the most suitable form of the drug for you and will give you clear directions on how to take it.

Potential Side Effects

Although there are no known severe side effects associated with the use of Zanaflex, some patients may experience mild withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, anxiety, increased heart rate, increased spasticity and dizziness. These symptoms usually occur in patients who have been taking the medication for a long period of time. The treatment with Zanaflex must not be discontinued abruptly - the doctor may suggest you to gradually lower the dose.

Contraindications

Patients must avoid using Zanaflex if they know to be allergic to the main ingredient (Tizanidine) or any other component. Also, patients who use Luvox or Cipro should also consult their doctor before starting the treatment with Zanaflex.

In addition to allergies, patients who suffer from kidney or liver disease or high/low blood pressure should also consult their health care provider prior to the treatment, as Zanaflex can worsen these conditions. The doctor may recommend adjusting the dosage or taking special tests throughout the treatment to monitor your blood pressure and/or the state of your kidney or liver disease.

Last, but not least, Zanaflex is contraindicated for pregnant women, as it can be harmful to the unborn baby. If you are pregnant and breast-feeding a baby, or you want to become pregnant during the treatment, you must inform your doctor about this. Zanaflex requires a long period of time to clear from the body, and for this reason patients must be very careful when using this drug.

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