“There is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon…”
~ Alduous Huxley, Brave New World
This literary ‘soma’ definition may not be exactly the same as modern day prescription Soma – but it does paint a picture of the risks of Soma pill abuse.
To give you a full picture of these risks, we address several specific questions about the drug. These questions include:
- What are somas?
- How do Soma pills work?
- What is the right dosage for carisoprodol?
- What are the side effects of Soma pills?
- What does soma pill abuse look like?
- What are the risks of Soma pill abuse?
- What does carisoprodol addiction look like?
- What is the best way to recover from Soma pill addiction?
Soma is the brand name for carisoprodol. This is a muscle relaxant drug. While carisoprodol is not considered a controlled substance nationwide, at least sixteen states have classified the drug as a controlled substance.
This is primarily due to the rapidly rising rate of abuse of Soma. States like Oregon, Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico and Virginia have all begun to take the risks of Soma pill abuse seriously.
Soma Definition: What is Carisoprodol?
In simple terms, Soma works as a muscle relaxer. This means that the active ingredients in the drug essentially block the sensation of pain between the body’s nerves and the brain.
Soma is the brand name for carisoprodol. As a muscle relaxer, the drug does not directly relieve pain. This is in contrast to other prescription strength pain medication like oxycodone or fentanyl. The drug can be found at any pharmacy, and bought using Soma coupons.
The difference in this Soma definition is key: unlike aspirin, which actually reduces inflammation in the body and reduces pain in this way, Carisoprodol simply relax the body’s muscles.
How is Carisoprodol Used?
In relaxing the muscles, Soma can work to reduce some of the pain experienced in the body.
Soma is primarily used to treat muscle spasms and backaches. This is because relaxing the muscles can work indirectly to reduce the pain experienced as a result of these conditions.
Rather than being used on its own, carisoprodol is typically prescribed along with a good amount of rest and even physical therapy. The drug is not meant to be a long-term therapy, but instead a very short-term response to a very specific medical condition.
In fact, most experts recommend that Soma pills be taken for no more than three weeks at a time. In this time frame, it is crucial that you take the Soma drug exactly as prescribed – not more often and not in greater quantities. Doing so can lead to a risk of withdrawal and addiction.
How Does a Soma Pill Work?
A prescription Soma pill is usually available as a single 350mg tablet. Sometimes the Soma pill has other active pain medication mixed in. The most common combinations are codeine and aspirin, which work directly as pain relievers in addition to the muscle relaxing carisoprodol.
Soma is prescribed as a pain reliever even though it actually works as a prescription muscle relaxant. This is because the drug indirectly relieves pain by relaxing the muscles where the most amount of pain is located. Because of this, carisoprodol is typically prescribed specifically for muscle injuries – such as a strained or pulled muscle.
A Soma pill is centrally acting. This means that it simply blocks the sensation of pain between the body’s nerves and the brain. The intended side effect is to relax the muscles in the target area, as they are not experiencing or ‘feeling’ pain. This is where the risk of Soma pill abuse comes in – if someone takes more carisoprodol than prescribed, they can become either drowsy or giddy.
When abused, the effects of a Soma muscle relaxer are much the same as various forms of opiates.
How Does Soma Compare to Other Drugs?
Soma isn’t the only muscle relaxer out there. There are several other drugs that perform many of the same functions as carisoprodol. We’ll look at a comparison between Soma and some similar drugs to help you better understand the uses and risks of the drug.
Soma vs Flexeril
Flexeril, or cyclobenzaprine, is a muscle relaxer. It is widely prescribed. In fact, it’s one of the most common drugs doctors recommend for muscle spasms. This makes it a good place to start the comparison.
Soma pills and Flexeril have several things in common, specifically:
- Both are available under a generic name
- Both are used to treat muscle and joint pain
- Both come in pill form
However, there are some important differences between Soma and Flexeril. For instance, Soma can cause dependency. They also work differently. carisoprodol acts on the central nervous system by blocking signals between the spinal cord and the brain. Flexeril works by blocking pain sensations to the brain. Finally, Flexeril’s elimination half-life is longer – about 18 hours. Soma’s half-life is about 8 hours.
It’s easy to see why doctors prefer Flexeril to Soma for most patients. It offers many of the same advantages as Soma. However, it doesn’t have the same risk of dependency and other side effects.
Soma vs Valium
Valium is another drug frequently prescribed for muscle spasms. It is sold generically as diazepam. Soma pills and Valium are similar in several ways. They both work to relieve muscle spasms. Moreover, they’re both available as generics.
Additionally, Soma and Valium are rarely the first choice for most doctors when it comes to treating muscle spasms. Neither is meant for long-term treatment. Valium tolerance builds quickly. As a result, people need higher doses to obtain the same effect.
Another important thing that Valium and Soma share is a risk of dependency. Valium is known to be habit-forming. It belongs to the benzodiazepine family of drugs. This type of drug has a high potential for abuse.
There are also some key differences between the two drugs. Valium is mostly used as an anti-anxiety drug. Soma, on the other hand, is mainly recommended for muscle and joint pain. Additionally, Valium interacts with more drugs that Soma does. That means it has a greater chance of causing complications with other medications you take.
Soma vs Baclofen
Baclofen is another common medication for muscle spasms. It is sold under the brand name Lioresal. Baclofen has fewer side effects than Soma. As a result, it’s frequently prescribed for seniors. However, it is only used for muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries.
Carisoprodol can be used for other types of muscle spasms and joint pain. Both cause drowsiness. Therefore, it’s important to be careful when driving while on either drug.
Another risk shared by both medications is seizures. Each drug can cause seizures. Baclofen is more likely to cause seizures at higher doses, in people with a history of seizures, alcoholics, people with eating disorders, and those with brain infections. Soma can cause seizures in people that take other recreational drugs or when combined with alcohol.
Soma vs Xanax
Xanax, or alprazolam, is another popular anti-anxiety drug. It is in the benzodiazepine family of drugs, just like Valium. While some people say that these drugs are safe, Xanax does have risks.
The most common reason for a Xanax prescription is anxiety. Unlike other benzos it isn’t used for muscle pain or muscle spasms. As a result, most people who look to a Soma pill for relief won’t get the same effects from Xanax.
Like Soma, Xanax is available as a generic. Both drugs have a risk of dependency and can be habit-forming. Therefore, neither is recommended for long-term treatment.
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What is the Right Dosage for Somas?
The most common dosage for Soma pills is 350 milligrams, though the dose can range from 250 mg to 350 mg. Carisoprodol is taken three times a day, and once just before going to sleep. Soma coupons can be used to purchase this dosage of carisoprodol.
Because of the risks of Soma pill abuse, the drug is rarely prescribed for more than two or three weeks at a time. Taking a higher dose of Soma during this timeframe can lead to withdrawal effects and other health risks.
The Soma drug should not be combined with depressants – including alcohol. Mixing carisoprodol with alcohol only increases the unwanted and dangerous side effects, including everything from dizziness to impaired judgment.
The long and short of it is this: Soma should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor, and should only be taken exactly as prescribed by that doctor. No more, no less.
What Are the Side Effects of Soma Pills?
Like most drugs, the Soma muscle relaxer has two kinds of effects: the desired effect and unwanted side effects.
In the case of carisoprodol, the desired effect is to relax the muscles and reduce pain as a result. However, because the Soma drug works in the brain, it may have several nervous system side effects.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine outlines a complete list of potential side effects from carisoprodol. These include:
- Fast heart rate
- Upset stomach
- Skin rash
- Difficulty breathing
- A burning sensation in the eyes
Of course, not all of these Soma side effects are dangerous. However, if you see several of these side effects at the same time you should contact your doctor immediately.
These side effects only become more pronounced in the case of Soma pill abuse. One of the major risks of Soma pill abuse goes beyond the physical side effects listed above: the risk of addiction to the drug.
What Does Soma Pill Abuse Look Like?
For prescription drugs like Soma, the definition of drug abuse is relatively straightforward: using the prescription drug in any other way than how it is prescribed. This includes:
- Taking more carisoprodol than prescribed
- Taking carisoprodol more often than prescribed
- Taking the Soma drug without a prescription at all
- Using someone else’s prescription for Soma
- Using a Soma pill recreationally (i.e. to relax)
- Using Soma coupons to buy more of the drug than is needed
“Abusers typically ingest Soma orally. Many abusers take it in combination with other drugs to enhance the effects of those drugs. Alcohol, codeine, diazepam, heroin, hydrocodone, meprobamate, and proopoxyphen commonly are abused in combination with Soma.”
~ United States Department of Justice
What Are Specific Signs of Soma Abuse to Look For?
Those who abuse Soma typically do mix it with other drugs. These include Vicodin, Valium, Xanax, codeine and alcohol. All of these are essentially sedatives, so the biggest sign of Soma pill abuse to look for is a person acting overly sedated as a result of their drug use.
Some additional signs of carisoprodol abuse to look for include:
- Depression or anxiety
- Unexplained irritability
- Double vision
- Confused thinking
If you see these signs of drug abuse in yourself or someone you know, it may be time to reach out for professional help. Despite the risks of Soma pill abuse, there is no question that it can be overcome.
What are the Risks of Soma Pill Abuse?
Over time, carisoprodol abuse can lead to long-term health risks. The drug primarily presents a hazard to psychological health: mood swings, thinking of suicide, depression and a loss of motivation at school, work, or in social situations.
In addition to these health risks, there are two major risks in abusing prescription Soma: overdose and addiction.
The Risk of Overdose in Soma Pill Abuse
Because abusing Soma builds up a tolerance for the drug, it is possible to overdose on carisoprodol. Someone who abuses prescription carisoprodol carisoprodol will develop tolerance over time, which means they will have to take increasing quantities of the drug to reach the same relaxing effects. This can be extremely dangerous, and lead to overdose when too much carisoprodol is taken. An overdose can take the form of a coma, going into shock, dangerously shallow breathing, and can even be fatal.
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The Risk of Addiction in Soma Pill Abuse
Overtime, abusing a drug almost inevitably leads to a dependency on that drug. The same goes for carisoprodol. If Soma is taken more often or for longer than prescribed, the body can develop both a tolerance to and a dependence on the effects of the drug.
This means that the user will have to take more of the drug to reach the same effects, therefore becoming even more dependent on the substance. This eventually leads to the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Soma addiction forms when a person cannot go more than a half a day without taking the drug – not as a muscle relaxant, but for its relaxing effect on the rest of the nervous system.
Mixing Soma Medication with Other Drugs
Drug abuse is rarely limited to one specific drug. However, mixing drugs creates new risks for the user. Drugs change the way that your body works. The odds of something going wrong increase dramatically when you mix different drugs. We’ll look at some of the most common recreational drugs and how they interact with Soma medication.
Soma with Xanax
Soma and Xanax are two parts of a popular drug mix sometimes called “The Holy Trinity.” However, this combination is especially dangerous. The drugs work to suppress the central nervous system. This increases the risk of respiratory failure. The fast-acting nature of Xanax means that it is hard for your body to regulate heart rate and breathing when you take it with carisoprodol.
Soma with Opiates
Soma and opiates should not be taken together unless directed by a doctor. Opiates, like Oxycodone, Percocet, Tramadol, Vicodin, and hydrocodone, suppress the central nervous system. Carisoprodol also works on the central nervous system. As a result, combining these drugs increases the risk of an overdose.
Soma with Adderall
There are no documented interactions between Adderall and Soma. However, it’s still dangerous to mix the two drugs. There are not a lot of studies regarding how different medications interact together. There are simply too many medications and too many variables to control. Therefore, scientists and researchers focus on the most common and most important interactions.
Adderall is an amphetamine, which is a stimulant. It is used to treat things like ADD, ADHD, and narcolepsy. Soma pills are a depressant. It is always risky to take depressants and stimulants together. They send your body different types of signals.
Stimulants tell your body to speed up. Depressants tell your body to slow down. Therefore, mixing the two makes your body confused about what it should do. Moreover, changing from slowing down to speeding up and back again puts lots of pressure on the heart. This increases the risk of heart disease or damage.
Soma with Naproxen
Naproxen, commonly known under the brand name Aleve, is a widely-available pain reliever. It is a nonsteroidal ant-inflammatory drug. It doesn’t have any record of interactions with Soma. The drugs work in different ways. Carisoprodol works on the central nervous system. Naproxen works by preventing your body from making substances that cause inflammation.
Soma with Gabapentin
Gabapentin is a nerve pain medication and anticonvulsant. It’s mostly used to treat seizures. However, some doctors also prescribe it for certain types of nerve pain, like shingles. Taking Soma with gabapentin can increase the side effects. You’ll experience more dizziness and drowsiness. You’ll also have a hard time concentrating and may be easily confused.
As a result, it’s important that you avoid alcohol if you’re taking these two drugs. Moreover, you should avoid activities that require alertness. For example, driving and operating machinery. You also shouldn’t stop taking any medication your doctor recommends without talking to them first.
What Does Carisoprodol Addiction Look Like?
As we mentioned above, one of the biggest risks of carisoprodol abuse is addiction. Addiction is relatively rare when prescription Soma is used exactly as prescribed. However, if the drug is abused it can create dependency on its effects.
“Soma is generally safe when prescribed by a physician and used as directed. However, individuals who abuse Soma can develop psychological addictions to the drug.”
~ United States Department of Justice
Addiction to Soma is essentially when the body becomes dependent on the effects of carisoprodol. The main form addiction to the drug takes is experiencing withdrawal symptoms after going several hours without taking a Soma pill.
Withdrawal is an almost sure sign that you have become dependent on carisoprodol through Soma pill abuse. After awhile, someone who is addicted to Somas may keep taking them just to feel normal and to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
The Reality of Soma Withdrawal Symptoms
Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms to look for include:
- Experiencing anxiety and sometimes depression
- Seeing tremors in the hands
- Insomnia or other sleeping problems
- Seizures (only in extreme cases)
- Hallucinations (also only in extreme cases)
You should never attempt to quit Soma completely on your own. The withdrawal symptoms outlined here can be dangerous if they are not properly managed. Detox can be extremely difficult and even dangerous, especially for those who have been abusing Soma for many months or years.
Is Soma Addictive?
Soma has the highest abuse potential out of all muscle-relaxant drugs. It causes the most drowsiness out of this class of drugs. Additionally, it is sometimes abused by mixing it with Xanax and hydrocodone. This mixture creates an especially powerful effect and greatly increases the risk of overdose or complications.
Does Soma Affect Unborn Babies?
There isn’t strong research one way or the other to say that carisoprodol can harm an unborn baby or fetus. Regardless, it’s important to talk to a doctor if you’re taking Soma and are or may become pregnant.
Is it safe to take Soma while breastfeeding?
It is safe to take Soma while breastfeeding. However, you should be sure to inform your doctor about any medications you take while breastfeeding to be sure.
Does Soma have any drug interactions?
Yes, carisoprodol interacts with several drugs. There is a list of drugs that you should not take if you use Soma pills, including:
- Drugs containing doxylamine
In addition to specific medications, there are several categories of drugs that have dangerous interactions with Soma. People using Soma should avoid any of the following types of drugs:
- Sleep medications
- Alertness and wakefulness drugs like Provigil and Nuvigil
- Anxiety medications like Benzodiazepines
- Seizure and muscle disorder drugs
- Psychotropic drugs used for depression and other psychological issues
- Drugs that dull the central nervous system like Apokyn, Tenex, and Aldomet
- Immuno-suppressants like Humira and Nulojix
- Allergy medications such as Benadryl
What happens when you take Soma and drink alcohol?
Soma pills and alcohol both work on the central nervous system. It’s best to avoid alcohol while taking the medication. Drinking while on carisoprodol can make drowsiness and reaction time even worse.
What are warning signs for bad Soma reactions?
Sometimes the body reacts in unpredictable ways to drugs. If you take Soma you should look out for excessive drowsiness or dizziness. Some people also Additionally, call emergency health services if you have problems breathing.
Other negative reactions to Soma include:
- Cold sweats
- Bladder control issues
- Sore throat
- Swollen glands
- Unusual weakness
What are warning signs for a Soma overdose?
There are several things you should look for to detect a Soma overdose. First, check the pupils, the black part of the eye. People in a carisoprodol overdose have dilated or enlarged pupils. Additionally, blurred vision and confusion regarding time, place, or person are signs of an overdose. Other overdose symptoms include trouble breathing, headaches, irregular breathing, problems speaking and swallowing, and uncontrolled eye movement.
What should I do for a Soma overdose?
The best course of action if you or someone else is overdosing on Soma is to call emergency medical services. Trained professionals will know the best methods to stop the overdose. They will be able to provide the necessary care and medication to keep the individual safe.
How does Soma work?
Soma medication is a muscle relaxer. It is used to treat pain and skeletal injuries. Soma works on the central nervous system. It blocks certain signals from the brain and spinal cord. This gives people relief from joint and muscle pain. It also stands in contrast to other options like anti-inflammatory drugs and opioids.
Does Soma interact with any health conditions?
Yes, there are a few health conditions that can affect how your body reacts to Soma. One example is liver disease. Carisoprodol is broken down in the liver. Therefore, some people with liver disease may have a harder time breaking down the medication. This can create complications with other drugs you take. It can also increase the risk or intensity of side effects.
Additionally, you shouldn’t take Soma if you have a history of seizures. This is because of the way that carisoprodol interacts with the central nervous system. That’s why it’s vital to tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any medication you’re taking before you take Soma.
Does Soma cause memory loss?
There’s no record of Soma causing memory loss. The drug doesn’t work on the part of the brain responsible for forming memories. Instead, it works on the central nervous system. This part of the body is how the body and brain communicate to each other. However, it can make side effects of other drugs more intense if taken together. Therefore, if you take carisoprodol and a drug that is known to cause memory loss, then the side effect of memory loss might be worse.
Can Soma cause insomnia?
The most common side effect of Soma pills is drowsiness. However, everyone’s body is different. Some people report insomnia and trouble sleeping when they take carisoprodol. You should tell a doctor right away if you’re taking Soma and have difficulty falling asleep.
Does Soma cause strokes?
There’s no evidence that links Soma to an increase risk of stroke. The biggest risk for carisoprodol and strokes comes from interactions it has with other medications. Just one more reason why you shouldn’t mix it with other drugs unless your doctor says it’s safe.
Does Soma have withdrawal effects?
There are some withdrawal effects. They are stronger in people that take Soma pills for a long time. The most common withdrawal symptoms are anxiety, headache, insomnia, and muscle tremors. Additionally, some people get irritability, abnormal crying, vomiting, or diarrhea.
What is the Best Way to Recover from Soma Pill Addiction?
Unfortunately, prescription drug addiction is relatively common in the United States. Prescription Soma in particular can be dangerous, since few people recognize that the drug is addictive.
Fortunately, addiction can be treated with professional help. Medical detox in particular is helpful for getting individuals struggling with addiction to Somas on the right path to recovery.
“Over a lifetime, 52 million Americans have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes and 6.2 million Americans have used them in the past month. In the decade between 1998 and 2008, substance abuse treatment admissions for prescription painkillers increased 400%.”
~ Adrienne Erin
Soma drug recovery takes several different forms, depending on the needs of the individual and the intensity of the addiction.
Inpatient Treatment: Otherwise called residential rehab, this option is best for those who have struggled with Soma addiction for a long time, have addictions to other substances, or have entered treatment before.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment: An intensive outpatient program offers many of the same services as residential rehab, but allows participants to remain at home and continue on in their daily lives. This is best suited for those who have abused Somas for a short time.
12-Step Support Groups: Support groups like Pills Anonymous provide a fantastic resource for those looking for a supportive environment and specific tools in recovery.
Which treatment option you choose depends on the level and the length of your addiction. If you need help deciding on the next steps in recovering from Soma pill abuse, feel free to contact us today.
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- Lorie A. Gonzalez. (2010, April). Abuse Potential of Soma. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2858432/
- Roy R. Reeves. (2012). Carisprodol: Update on Abuse Potential and Legal Status. Retrieved from: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/774528
- USDOJ. (n.d.). What is Soma? Retrieved from: https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs10/10913/10913p.pdf