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It is possible to become dependent on Soma (carisoprodol). Abuse of the medication is common, even though it is not considered a controlled substance. When the liver metabolizes Soma, however, it turns it into a different medication that has the potential to be abused. Taking the muscle relaxant for longer than two or three weeks could increase the risk of dependence and possibly Soma abuse.

Abusing Soma: An Introduction

Soma® (carisoprodol) is a muscle relaxant that is available by prescription only. Because Soma is not a controlled substance, many people assume that it has no potential for abuse. However, Soma is actually a commonly abused medication. Many healthcare providers believe that Soma should be reclassified to be a controlled substance, which would put it under the regulation of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The Chemical Basis for Soma Abuse

Soma itself is probably not addicting. However, the liver metabolizes Soma into meprobamate, a different medication. Meprobamate has significant anti-anxiety properties and is a controlled substance with the potential to be abused. Theoretically, it is possible that people whose livers are more efficient at metabolizing Soma into meprobamate may be more likely to abuse Soma.

Limiting Soma Abuse

Soma is approved only for short-term use (for a maximum of two or three weeks). Taking it for longer periods of time could increase the risk of dependence and possibly abuse. More importantly, people with a tendency towards alcohol or drug abuse are at a high risk for abusing Soma. Therefore, Soma is not a good choice for people with such problems. Other muscle relaxants with no abuse potential would be much more appropriate. Soma abuse is also more likely when people take Soma together with alcohol or other medications with abuse potential. Avoiding alcohol or addicting medications may help limit Soma abuse.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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