Zanaflex is a prescription medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating spasticity in adults with multiple sclerosis (MS). Zanaflex is not a cure for MS, but it can relieve the cramping, muscle tightness and spasms caused by MS. Zanaflex is also known by its drug name, tizanidine.
Zanaflex is a muscle relaxant. It is believed that Zanaflex works by inhibiting motor neurons, the nerves that carry signals from the spinal cord to the skeletal muscles.
How do I take it?
Zanaflex is available in three formulations: Zanaflex brand capsules, Zanaflex brand pills, and generic tizanidine pills. Although the active ingredient in each is identical, instructions for taking the drug, its effectiveness, and some side effects may differ between formulations. Ask your doctor which is best for you, and always discuss with your doctor before switching formulations.
Your doctor may want to test your blood to check your liver function before prescribing Zanaflex and regularly while you are taking Zanaflex.
Your doctor will likely start you on a very small dosage of Zanaflex. You may be instructed to gradually increase the dosage over several days, until you reach the minimum effective dose. Doses of Zanaflex are usually taken every six to eight hours, with a maximum of three doses per day.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Zanaflex.
Several side effects are common when you begin taking Zanaflex, but which usually go away within two weeks. These include dry mouth, drowsiness, increased weakness or tiredness, confusion, dizziness or lightheadedness, urinary tract infection, abnormal liver function tests, vomiting, speech disorder, urinary frequency, nervousness, infection in the nose, flu syndrome, back pain, and an increase in muscle cramps or spasms. Contact your doctor if these persist past two weeks, or if they are intolerable.
Some people experience serious symptoms that should be reported to the doctor immediately. These include feelings of low blood pressure, hallucinations, burning, prickling or tingling, skin sores, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fainting, burning sensation while urinating, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin) and blurred vision.
If you stop taking Zanaflex without tapering off correctly, you may experience symptoms of withdrawal and rebound. In addition to the return of your spasticity symptoms, withdrawal may include high blood pressure, fast heartbeat, tremors and anxiety.
For more information about this treatment, visit:
Zanaflex — Drugs.com
Zanaflex — RxList