Why is this medication prescribed?
Tizanidine is used to relieve the spasms and increased muscle tone caused by multiple sclerosis (MS, a disease in which the nerves do not function properly and patients may experience weakness, numbness, loss of muscle coordination and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control), stroke, or brain or spinal injury. Tizanidine is in a class of medications called skeletal muscle relaxants. It works by slowing action in the brain and nervous system to allow the muscles to relax.
How should this medicine be used?
Tizanidine comes as a tablet and a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken consistently either always with or always without food two or three times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take tizanidine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Tizanidine capsules may be opened and sprinkled on soft foods such as applesauce. Talk to your doctor before opening the capsules because the effects of the medication when used in this manner may be different than when swallowing the capsule whole.
The medication in the capsule is absorbed differently by the body than the medication in the tablet, so one product cannot be substituted for the other. Each time you have your prescription filled, look at the tablets or capsules in the bottle and make sure that you have received the right product. If you think you received the wrong medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist right away.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of tizanidine and gradually increase your dose, depending on your response to this medication.
Do not stop taking tizanidine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking tizanidine, your heart may beat faster and you may have increased blood pressure or tightness in your muscles. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking tizanidine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to tizanidine or any other medications.
- tell your doctor if you are taking ciprofloxacin (Cipro) or fluvoxamine. Your doctor will probably tell you not to take tizanidine if you are taking either of these medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: acyclovir (Zovirax); amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone); baclofen; cimetidine (Tagamet); clonidine (Catapres, Catapres-TTS); dantrolene (Dantrium); diazepam (Valium); famotidine (Pepcid, Pepcid AC); medications for anxiety, seizures, or high blood pressure; mexiletine (Mexitil); oral contraceptives (birth control pills); propafenone (Rythmol); fluoroquinolones such as gemifloxacin (Factive), levofloxacin (Levaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), and ofloxacin (Floxin); ticlopidine (Ticlid); sedatives; sleeping pills; tranquilizers; verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan); and zileuton (Zyflo). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects. Other medications may also interact with tizanidine, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking tizanidine, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking tizanidine.
- you should know that this medication may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this medication.
- you should know that tizanidine may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting when you get up too quickly from a lying position. This is more common when you first start taking tizanidine. To avoid this problem, get out of bed slowly, resting your feet on the floor for a few minutes before standing up.tizanidine can decrease muscle tone, so be careful when walking or doing other activities where you rely on your muscle tone to help with your posture or balance.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If your doctor has told you to take tizanidine regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Tizanidine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- tingling sensation in the arms, legs, hands, and feet
- dry mouth
- stomach pain
- increased muscle spasms
- back pain
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- extreme tiredness
- unusual bleeding or bruising
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
- pain in the upper right part of the stomach
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- unexplained flu-like symptoms
- seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist
- slow heartbeat
- changes in vision
Tizanidine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- extreme tiredness
- slow heartbeat
- slow or shallow breathing
- loss of consciousness
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to tizanidine.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.