Is soma an addiction? Do you need to relax?

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Disclaimer: if taken without control or the help of a doctor, this can become a very addictive drug and can cause real damage, so no action should be taken without asking a doctor first.

Carisoprodol is a centrally-acting skeletal muscle relaxant whose active metabolite is meprobamate. Although several case reports have shown that carisoprodol has abuse potential[1] both by itself and as a potentiator of hydrocodone, dihydrocodeine, codeine and similar drugs, it continues to be prescribed in North America, alongside cyclobenzaprine. In Europe, doctors favor cyclobenzaprine due to its lower abuse factor. In the United Kingdom, benzodiazepines are preferred instead. Carisoprodol is a colorless, crystalline powder, having a mild, characteristic odor and a bitter taste. It is slightly soluble in water and freely soluble in alcohol, chloroform and acetone. Its solubility is practically independent of pH.

Carisoprodol is marketed in the United States under the brand name Soma, and in the United Kingdom and other countries under the brand names Sanoma and Carisoma. Carisoprodol is especially useful against various types of pain (whether or not related to muscle spasm) because of its analgesic-sparing (potentiating) effect on opioid analgesics. Carisoprodol is available by itself or mixed with aspirin and in one preparation (Soma Compound With Codeine) along with codeine and caffeine as well.

As of November 2007 Carisoprodol (Somadril, Somadril comp.) has been taken off the market in Sweden due to problems with dependence, abuse and side effects. The agency overseeing pharmaceuticals has considered other drugs used with the same indications as carisoprodol to have the same or better effects without the risks of the drug.[2].

In the EU, the European Medicines Agency has issued a release recommending that member states suspend marketing authorization for this product. [3]

As of March 2009, carisoprodol is considered to be a schedule CIV by the states of Florida, Arizona, Idaho, Minnesota, Kentucky, Hawaii, and Washington State (not verified, WA still using DEA scheduling). Beginning in July 2002, Florida led the state movement to schedule carisoprodol when a state bill was passed due to an understanding within state drug enforcement circles that the drug was becoming more widely abused. Possession of the drug without a valid prescription in the state of Florida is now a third degree felony. The rest of the United States, excluding the above named states, falls under the DEA scheduling for the drug, which considers carisoprodol a non-scheduled chemical, meaning that carisoprodol is considered a general prescription medication by the federal government of the United States, with oversight provided solely by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). [4]