Zanaflex is licensed for the short-term treatment of spasticity. The medicine does not work continuously; each dosage lasts between three and six hours. Because this product has only been studied in adults, it is not approved for children or teens at this time. "Off-label" uses of Zanaflex include treating tension headaches, lower back pain, and trigeminal neuralgia.
What Is Zanaflex Used For?
Zanaflex® (tizanidine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used to treat spasticity. It belongs to a group of drugs known as alpha-2 adrenergic agonists.
This is a short-acting medication that does not provide around-the-clock relief, since each dose lasts for only three to six hours, and the medication can only be taken three times a day. However, Zanaflex can be useful for providing relief from spasticity at certain predictable times during the day.
Spasticity is the continual contraction of muscles. This can result in pain and loss of function, and can interfere with walking, speaking, and movement. Over time, the muscles may actually shorten, which can result in significant deformity, as well as severe loss of function. Spasticity is usually the result of damage to the brain or the spinal cord.
How Does Zanaflex Work?
As an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist, Zanaflex binds to and stimulates alpha-2 receptors, an action that inhibits motor neurons. This medicine works centrally (in the spinal cord or brain), not directly on the muscles.
Zanaflex Use in Children and Teens
Zanaflex has not been approved for use in children or teens. This does not mean that children or teens absolutely cannot take this medication -- it simply means that Zanaflex has not been adequately studied in these age groups. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using Zanaflex in children or teens.
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