Prescription drug abuse is on the rise, with a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reporting a 400-percent increase in treatment admissions related to non-medical use of prescription narcotics between 1998 and 2008. Combined with alcohol, prescription painkillers often have undesirable and potentially harmful effects. While those who consume alcohol with pain relievers like carisoprodol do so for the perceived pleasurable effects, they may not realize the dangers involved, which include courting an addiction to prescription narcotics and alcohol.
What Is Carisoprodol?
Carisprodol (sold as Soma, Sopradol, and Vanadom) is a prescription muscle relaxant used to relieve muscular pain that results from muscle injuries or musculoskeletal conditions. It works by interrupting pain messages between the brain and the nerves so the patient can rest and take part in physical therapy.
Carisoprodol is known to be habit-forming and can cause dizziness and drowsiness. Carisoprodol can also impair your ability to think clearly and slow down your reaction times.
Potential side effects of carisoprodol include:
- Blurred vision
- Upset stomach
- Fast heartbeat
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of vision
Suddenly stopping taking carisoprodol can produce withdrawal symptoms, even after only short-term use. For this reason, a slow decrease in the use of carisoprodol is typically recommended.
Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Stomach pain
- Sleep difficulties
Emergency room visits related to carisoprodol more than doubled between the years 2004 and 2009, according to the Indiana Prevention Resource Center.
Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Carisoprodol
Alcohol should be avoided when taking carisoprodol. Mixing alcohol and carisoprodol can result in increased dizziness and drowsiness as well as other medical complications, including, but not limited to, impaired motor control, memory problems, difficulty breathing, and convulsions.
When metabolized by the liver, carisoprodol is transformed into meprobate, which has anti-anxiety effects. Carisoprodol can create an opiate-like high or euphoria, leading to carisoprodol being abused as a recreational drug. Adding alcohol to the mix enhances the effect and brings it on more quickly, making the combination highly habit-forming. Teens are especially susceptible to the allure of this drug and may not realize the potential hazards involved in mixing it with alcohol.
The overriding danger in mixing alcohol and drugs like carisoprodol is the increased likelihood of overdose. The Indiana Prevention Resource Center notes that ER visits related to the drug more than doubled between the years 2004 and 2009. Overall, deaths due to combined drug interactions rose 360.5 percent from 1983 to 2004, according to the Preventing Prescription Drug Misuse Project. These fatal drug combinations often included alcohol and prescription medications.
If you take carisoprodol, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of overdose, so you can seek immediate treatment.
Overdose symptoms may include:
- Vision problems
- Fast heartbeat
- Lightheadedness and/or fainting
- Muscle stiffness
- Shallow breathing
“The overriding danger in mixing alcohol and drugs like carisoprodol is the increased likelihood of overdose.”-Projectknow.com Besides the risk of accidental overdose, the dangers of mixing alcohol and carisoprodol include impairment of your driving abilities and increased risk of falls and injuries resulting from dizziness, seizures, and loss of muscle control.