Methocarbamol (Robaxin) is a centrally acting drug that is primarily used to relieve muscle spasms. It has not been studied in patients with anxiety, insomnia, and depression, since it does not have any effect on the GABA, serotonin, or nor-epinephrine central pathways.
Primary Uses of Methocarbamol (Robaxin):
Methocarbamol (Robaxin) is primarily used in the treatment of muscle spasms. It is primarily indicated to relieve muscle spasms of the back muscles and chest as in patients with trauma or accidental muscle stretch.
It is very commonly used to relieve muscle spasms of the back that arise from a prolonged inappropriate posture such as lying or sitting in one posture. It may be used for muscle cramps and spasms of the muscles after a musculoskeletal procedure or trauma.
The injectable formulation is used occasionally in patients with tetanus. It is not indicated for the relief of muscle and joint pains in the following conditions:
- Arthritis, as in patients with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.
- Inflammation of the muscles caused by infections or autoimmune disorders like polymyositis.
- Joint and muscle pains that are chronic in nature and associated with joint contractures and muscle atrophy.
- Neuropathic pains as in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy or toxic neuropathies.
- Visceral pains and pains arising from the smooth muscles of various internal organs including abdominal and urogenital organs.
Can you use Methocarbamol for anxiety and stress?
Although not studied in clinical trials, some people have observed that it relieves anxiety as well. The use of methocarbamol for anxiety has not been approved by the FDA.
It is a centrally acting drug and relieves pain and spasm of the muscles. In addition, it can cause somnolence and sedation. People with anxiety usually have disturbed sleep and difficulty falling asleep. Furthermore, they do not like to take anxiolytics because they are afraid of the addictive properties of Benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan and Klonopin).
Methocarbamol relieves anxiety in some patients
Methocarbamol use in such patients improves sleep and relaxes the muscles as well. This results in better overnight sleep and relief in stress and anxiety.
One clinical trial evaluated its effects on the psychomotor aspects of the patients in comparison to lorazepam. The drug has significant central effects, although, it caused less sedation compared to lorazepam [Ref].
The effect of Methocarbamol on anxiety is similar to the effect of cough and allergy drugs on sleep. Although not recommended for insomnia, cough syrups are commonly used for sleep disorders. Likewise, because of its sedative properties, methocarbamol is used to relieve stress and anxiety.
It is important to avoid overdosing on the drug as it may cause some serious side effects including respiratory depression and impairment of mental and physical abilities.
Methocarbamol use in anxiety is not FDA approved. However, it may result in some improvement in the anxiety scores especially for those who have difficulty falling asleep.