The Quandary Regarding Muscle Relaxants
It is generally a good idea to listen to doctor's instructions and read prescription labels when taking medication. This rule of thumb holds true for both prescription medication and over-the-counter drugs, since both can cause serious side effects if misused or overdosed. Any medication, even something as innocuous or safe as cough syrup can cause side effects. These side effects can range from mildly annoying to potentially fatal. Muscle relaxants are among the medications that could have potentially life-threatening consequences if taken in extreme doses. If you don't believe in that sort of thing, you can take a look at the publicly-available details of the death of Anna Nicole Smith.
Muscle relaxants are among the most dangerous medications when overdosed or misused. They can be used to treat a variety of problems, such as cramps and muscle strain. As the name implies, the drugs have effects on the skeletal muscles, working on them either directly or by targeting the entirety of the central nervous system. As such, an overdose of muscle relaxants can cause a number of effects, ranging from things like nausea, drowsiness, and a loss of coordination to confusion, lack of sleep, and mood problems. Muscle relaxants can also cause the very same problems that they were developed to eliminate, though this only occurs in certain individuals and is not considered a common side effect.
It is therefore unfortunate that very few authorities actually recognize that abuse of these drugs is happening. Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of muscle relaxants would be their collective sedative effect on the body. This has been known to cause sleepiness and drowsiness, as well as a minor loss of coordination and alertness. Misused, the drowsiness and loss of alertness that these drugs can cause might lead to accidents if the patient is in the wrong situation at the wrong time. Such high risk situations include when a person is driving along a busy highway, or is operating heavy machinery. In larger doses, these medications can put the body into a sleep-like state before shutting it down completely. In some cases, overdose victims have also reported experiencing convulsions and cardiovascular irregularities. These drugs, while requiring a prescription before being purchased, are significantly cheaper and easier to avail of than more potent narcotic substances. The fact that these medications can also be habit-forming makes them a serious problem, in terms of people developing addictions. According to some authorities, muscle relaxant drugs have also been used by some addicts as substitutes when more potent narcotics are unavailable, owing largely to the fact that they're much easier to obtain.
It is known that high enough doses of relaxants can be used to achieve a mood-altering effect. Unfortunately, since these are legal medications, anti-drug authorities do not seize them if shipments are caught. Their legal status also makes them readily available to anyone who can get a prescription and afford regular purchases. If Anna Nicole Smith's death, and the understated reaction of people in Hollywood, were anything to go by, it would appear that addiction and overdosing on relaxants are not as uncommon as initially thought. Some reports claim that a large number of people in the entertainment industry have abused relaxants and other medications, though these reports are unconfirmed.