Soma Addiction

Soma Addiction

Soma Addiction

Soma AddictionCarisoprodol or Soma® came out in 1959 from Wallace Laboratories. For the next 53 years the United States government classified this drug as a muscle relaxant with zero potential for addiction. Therefore the federal government did not control or regulate Soma or any other carisoprodol product as an addictive drugs listed on the Schedule of Controlled Substances, and doctors were free to prescribe it without extra paperwork or record-keeping. Soma has been prescribed over ten million times a year since its introduction.

The problem was that carisoprodol is not skeletal muscle relaxant, and once it is in the body, it metabolizes into meprobamate. Meprobamate, the active ingredient in Miltown®, is a Schedule IV addictive substance.

In the late 1990s, as more Americans were becoming addicted to prescription drugs, Soma was increasingly abused because it was not highly regulated. Between 2000 and 2005, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency estimated that its abuse had increased by 25%. In 2007 Soma was involved in 27,128 visits to emergency medical facilities, and in 20% of those visits, Soma was the only drug involved, meaning that it was becoming popular as a drug of abuse used by itself.

On January 11, 2012, carisoprodol was classified as a Schedule IV Controlled Substance, after a special committee presented a report of all available scientific evidence that concluded that the drug was addictive. By that time over 2.8 million Americans had already experimented with carisoprodol for nonmedical reasons.

What Is Soma?

Carisoprodol, the active ingredient in Soma, is a colorless crystalline powder with a bitter taste considered to be a muscle relaxant. It actually works by blocking pain sensations between the nerves and the brain. The chemical name of this drug is N-isopropyl-2-methyl-2-propyl-1,3-propanediol dicarbamate; the molecular formula is C12H24N2O4; the molecular weight is 260.33.

The drug is usually sold in pill form with the most common version as white, convex pills that say “Soma” on one side and “37 Wallace 2001” on the other. The ones with codeine in them are oval with white and yellow layers. Generic carisoprodol are usually white round pills. The typical dosage is 350mg three times a day and at bedtime for people over 16 years of age. The medicine is metabolized in the liver and excreted through the kidneys, and lasts between four to six hours.

The street names for carisoprodol are Ds and Dance. A Las Vegas cocktail is Soma and Vicodin; a Soma Coma is Soma and codeine. These combinations are dangerous and can lead to overdoses. The street prices for Soma vary, but $100 to $150 for a bottle of 30 pills, legally sold for about $20, is probably average. Before it was reclassified as an addictive drug, Soma and other carisoprodol products were available on the Internet and through Mexican pharmacies.

What Are The Medical Uses Of Soma?

Soma is commonly prescribed for muscle injuries and muscle spasms, and sometimes for pain relief, anxiety, sedation, and insomnia. Soma stops being effective after a few weeks. The instructions to physicians are to prescribe Soma “only for short periods of two to three weeks because adequate evidence of effectiveness for prolonged use has not been established and because painful muscular-skeletal conditions are generally only of short duration.” In some studies Soma was no more effective than a placebo after three weeks, yet it is frequently prescribed for longer times. The authors of report by the U.S. Department of Justice that determined Soma to be a Schedule IV Controlled Substance wrote, “Few physicians are aware of the abuse potential of carisoprodol.”

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Soma?

Some of the side effects of Soma are common and not serious, including drowsiness, clumsiness, dizziness, headache, upset stomach, fast heartbeat, vomiting, and skin rashes. Other common side effects that often go away as your body adjusts to the medicine are dry mouth, warm face, heartburn, nervousness, chest pain, restlessness, sensation of spinning, shakiness, insomnia, and unsteadiness.

If you experience any of the following side effects, you should consult a doctor: convulsions, confusion, chills and sweats, fast pounding or irregular heartbeat, ulcers in the mouth, loss of consciousness, swollen glands, bleeding, extreme tiredness, loss of bladder control, shortness of breath, painful urination, and muscle spasms.

What Drugs Interact With Soma?

People who abuse Soma usually take the drug with alcohol, heroin, Vicodin, codeine, meprobamate (Miltown), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium) in order to enhance their effects. These combinations can lead to such severe respiratory depression such that you stop breathing.

Soma should not be taken by any drug that suppresses the central nervous system or causes drowsiness. There are over 60 common prescription and over-the-counter drugs that interact with Soma, including barbiturates, allergy drugs, narcotics, opiate pain killers, sleeping pills, seizure medications, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, anesthetics, tranquilizers, sedatives, cold and cough medications, and alcohol. Females metabolize Soma differently than do males, so the drug has stronger and quicker effects on them.

What Are The Dangers And Risks Of Soma?

Some people have severe, even life-threatening allergic reactions to Soma the first time they take it. Symptoms might be hives, trouble breathing, extreme weakness, inability to move arms and legs, joint pain, dizziness, vision problems, mental changes such as confusion, fast heart rate, and swelling of the face and lips. Get emergency help if you experience these symptoms.

Soma is usually not prescribed to people under 16 years of age, the very elderly, nursing mothers, or pregnant women because there have not been enough studies of the drug’s safety. Some studies found that Soma may cause similar in vitro effects similar to barbital. Soma is addictive so it should not be taken by people with histories of drug or alcohol abuse. Soma may cause liver and kidney damage, so it is not prescribed to people with liver or kidney diseases. Likewise it is not prescribed to people who have porphyria or seizure disorders.

People who drive under the influence of Soma are more likely to get into accidents. This drug impairs thought processes and reactions, which in turn interferes with a person’s performance at school or at work. Alcohol increases this effect.

According to the latest federal report on carisoprodol, “Excessive use creates similar toxicity and withdrawal as other Schedule IV drugs,” and the risks to health include “depression of the central nervous system, respiratory failure, cognitive and motor impairment, addiction, dependency, and abuse.”

Soma Overdoses

Most people who overdose on drugs are using a combination of substances, and Soma is usually not represented as the primary cause of death, especially when it was combined with heroin or other drugs. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency linked Soma or other carisoprodol products to 434 deaths in 2006, and this number keeps increasing.

Symptoms of overdose might include central nervous system depression, delirium, dilated pupils, involuntary eye twitching, shallow breathing, fast heart beat, lightheadedness, seizures, fainting, confusion, muscle stiffness, lack of muscular coordination, and/or paralysis. If the person arrives at an emergency medical facility in a coma, doctors may put her on life support, pump the stomach, administer charcoal as an antidote and benzodiazepines for seizures, and force urination.

Why Do People Abuse Soma?

For over fifty years Soma was not considered addictive despite anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Today there is new evidence that the drug is as addictive as other Schedule IV drugs. Recent studies on laboratory animals conclude that they can become addicted to carisoprodol and will seek it out when the drug is withdrawn from them.

Drug abuse is defined as using a drug for nonmedical purposes because of its positive psychoactive effects. It has been only recently that the U.S. federal government determined that carisoprodol is indeed a drug of abuse in that it is being diverted from legitimate medical channels into illegal ones, and that many people are taking the drug in large amounts and without medical direction. A study published in the Journal of Addictive Diseases found that many people are forging prescriptions and obtaining the drug through veterinarian supply companies, and that abusers tended to use it in conjunction with other central nervous system depressants or opioids.

People take carisoprodol products to increase the effects of drugs like marijuana, alcohol and heroin, or they take it as a tranquilizer or sedative in order to relax. Some of the scientific studies of the drug have found that some individuals are addicted to Soma and taking over 8,000mg a day.

Signs You May Be Addicted To Soma

If you can answer yes to two or more of these questions, it may be time to consult with your doctor or other medical professional about your abuse of Soma.

  • Are you abusing Soma along with other drugs –legal, illegal or both?
  • Have you been using drugs for nonmedical purposes for over a month?
  • Do you find it impossible to get through a day or two without using sedatives like Soma?
  • Have you endangered your life or the lives of others by driving under the influence of Soma?
  • When you try to quit taking Soma, do you experience withdrawal symptoms?
  • Is your drug use interfering with your performance at work or at school?
  • Are your family members concerned about your drug use?
  • Are you buying Soma from Internet or Mexican pharmacies?
  • Do you lie to doctors or medical professionals in order to obtain Soma? Do you ask for this drug by name?
  • Are you too embarrassed to seek help for your drug use? Do you think treatment would cost too much or take too much time away from your work and/or family?
  • Do you need to take Soma just to feel normal?
  • Do you use Soma in response to negative emotional states such as being upset, angry, grieving, sad, and so forth?
  • Do you think you are a particularly tense person who requires Soma?
  • Are you having trouble sleeping or do you have other symptoms that you know are from taking Soma?
  • Have you tried unsuccessfully to quit taking Soma?
  • Are you worried that your abuse of Soma will result in legal and financial problems?

How Do You Detox From A Soma Addiction?

For decades medical professionals believed you could not get addicted to carisoprodol products despite anecdotal evidence that its withdrawal syndrome is similar to that of barbiturates. In one early 1960s study a researcher gradually increased the amount of carisoprodol to 4800mg a day but only one of the five subjects experienced withdrawal symptoms. This study was cited for years even though it was not a double-blind study and the sample was small. However, a more recent study of prisoners who were taking 700 to 2100mg of the drug for at least nine months found they experienced anxiety, insomnia, irritability and muscle pain when they were withdrawn from the drug. One man who was using 8000mg or more a day had to be hospitalized during withdrawal because he experienced hallucinations.

Some of the symptoms people have experienced are heart palpitations, chills, depersonalization, anxiety, nausea, abdominal cramps, tremors, and joint pain. The withdrawal syndrome lasts about three to eight days, depending on how long the drug was taken and in what amounts. Some doctors simply help Soma addicts withdraw by slowly tapering off the amounts they are prescribed.

Carisoprodol probably does not cause withdrawal symptoms if it is used in medically recommended strengths and not for a prolonged period of time.

What Treatments Are Available For Soma Addiction?

The vast majority of people addicted to Soma and carisoprodol products are using more than one drug. The vast majority also have at least one comorbidity or psychiatric problem that is “traveling” with and contributing to their drug addiction. Comorbidities are typically undiagnosed mental problems like depression, anxiety, unresolved childhood trauma, posttraumatic stress syndrome, and so forth. These people need a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to recovery that involves treating their addiction as well as any comorbidities within separate medical protocols. Residential treatment centers have medical professionals that are experts in a variety of fields, including psychiatry, family counseling, physical fitness, nutrition, pharmacy, and so forth, and who can provide a multi-disciplinary approach.

Chemical detoxification or withdrawal from carisoprodol is just the first step. Most people need comprehensive, psychological counseling to help them understand why they developed Soma addiction and what problems in their lives may be contributing to it. Usually both patients and their families have to undergo counseling together to change any family dynamics that contribute to the patient’s self-destructive behaviors. The person may have to reevaluate career goals and set new ones if work is causing too many problems. A person in recovery must learn healthy relaxation techniques to substitute for Soma abuse, such as yoga, meditation, and exercise.

Sources:

“Carisoprodol, Drugs and Chemicals of Concern”, The Office of Diversion Control, The Drug Enforcement Agency, The US Department of Justice, posted at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugs_concern/carisoprodol.htm

Ibid.

Data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network, see “Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV,” The Department of Justice, Federal Register, Volume76 Issue 238, December 12, 2011, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31542.pdf

Ibid.

“Soma,” Drugs of Abuse, the government of New York, see http://www.oasas.ny.gov/admed/fyi/soma.cfm

“Carisoprodol,” Medline Plus, Information from the National Institute of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, posted at

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a682578.html

“Soma®,” Information for Consumers and Professionals, RX List, The Internet Drug Index, posted at http://www.rxlist.com/Soma®-drug/article.htm

“Soma® Fast Facts,” The US Department of Justice, pamphlet posted at  http://www.usdoj.gov/ndic/pubs10/10913/10913p.pdf

“Carisoprodol, Drugs and Chemicals of Concern”, The Office of Diversion Control, The Drug Enforcement Agency, The US Department of Justice, posted at http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugs_concern/carisoprodol.htm

“Carisoprodol (Oral Route),” The Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602697/

“Soma®,” Information for Consumers and Professionals, RX List, The Internet Drug Index, posted at http://www.rxlist.com/Soma®-drug/article.htm

“Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV,” The Department of Justice, Federal Register, Volume76 Issue 238, December 12, 2011, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31542.pdf

“Carisoprodol,” Medline Plus, Information from the National Institute of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, posted at

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/medmaster/a682578.html

“Carisoprodol (Oral Route),” The Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602697/

Ibid.

“Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV,” The Department of Justice, Federal Register, Volume76 Issue 238, December 12, 2011, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31542.pdf

“Carisoprodol (Oral Route),” The Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602697/

“Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV,” The Department of Justice, Federal Register, Volume76 Issue 238, December 12, 2011, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31542.pdf

“Soma®,” Information for Consumers and Professionals, RX List, The Internet Drug Index, posted at http://www.rxlist.com/Soma®-drug/article.htm

“Soma®,” at Drugs.com, posted at http://www.drugs.com/Soma®.html

“Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV,” The Department of Justice, Federal Register, Volume76 Issue 238, December 12, 2011, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31542.pdf

“Carisoprodol (Oral Route),” The Mayo Clinic, see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR602697/

“Carisoprodol,” at Yahoo Health.com, see http://health.yahoo.com/other-other/carisoprodol/healthwise–d00960a1.html

“Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV,” The Department of Justice, Federal Register, Volume76 Issue 238, December 12, 2011, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31542.pdf

Ibid.

“Soma®,” Information for Consumers and Professionals, RX List, The Internet Drug Index, posted at http://www.rxlist.com/Soma®-drug/article.htm

“Soma®,” at Drugs.com, posted at http://www.drugs.com/Soma®.html

“Soma®,” Information for Consumers and Professionals, RX List, The Internet Drug Index, posted at http://www.rxlist.com/Soma®-drug/article.htm

NPT toxicity studies of carisoprodol (CAS No. 78–44–4) administered by Gavage to 344/N rats and B6C3Fl mice. Toxic Rep Ser. 2000; 1–GI4.

“Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV,” The Department of Justice, Federal Register, Volume76 Issue 238, December 12, 2011, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31542.pdf

Reeves, Robert, DO, PhD, O. Stephen Carter MD, PhD, Harold B. Pinkofsky MD, PhD, Frederick A. Struve PhD & Dorothy M. Bennett MD. “Carisoprodol (Soma) Abuse Potential and Physician Unawareness.” Journal of Addictive Diseases, Volume 18, Issue 2, April 1999, pages 51-56.

“Placement of Carisoprodol Into Schedule IV,” The Department of Justice, Federal Register, Volume76 Issue 238, December 12, 2011, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-12-12/pdf/2011-31542.pdf

Fraser HF, Essig CF, Wolbach Jr AB.  Evaluation of Carisoprodol and  Phenyramidol for Addictiveness. Bulletin on Narcotics. 1961; 1–5.

WylIer TB, Korsmo G, Gadeholt G. Dependence on carisoprodol (Somadril)?  A prospective withdrawal study among  prisoners. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1991;  111:193–95.

Rohatgi G, Rissmiller OJ, Gorman JM. Treatment of carisoprodol dependence: a

case report. Journal of Psychiatry Practices 2005; 11:347–52.

“Soma,” Drugs of Abuse, the government of New York, see http://www.oasas.ny.gov/admed/fyi/soma.cfm

Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Studies (DATOS) see http://www.datos.org

Ibid.

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