What Is Tizanidine Used For?
A short-acting medication, tizanidine is used to treat spasticity in adults. For example, it can help treat muscle spasms, cramps, or tightness that is often caused by multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries or diseases. Each dosage only lasts between three and six hours. Some of the drug's "off-label" uses include treating lower back pain and preventing migraines.
An Introduction to Tizanidine Uses
Tizanidine hydrochloride (Zanaflex®) is a prescription medication used to treat spasticity. It belongs to a group of drugs known as alpha-2 adrenergic agonists.
It is a short-acting medication that does not provide around-the-clock relief, since each dose lasts only for three to six hours, and the medication can only be taken three times a day. However, tizanidine 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.
As an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist, tizanidine binds to and stimulates alpha-2 receptors, an action that inhibits motor neurons. Tizanidine works centrally (in the spinal cord or brain), not directly on the muscles.
Tizanidine 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 tizanidine has not been adequately studied in these age groups. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using tizanidine in children or teens.