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Overview

Carisoprodol is a central-acting skeletal muscle relaxant medication used to manage muscles cramps and spasms that cause severe pain. The drug works by acting on the central nervous system and it causes effects on the user similar to that of barbiturates.

These effects include sleepiness, drowsiness, euphoria, decreased motor coordination, and the inability to operate heavy machinery while using the medication. The side effects of the medication are short-lived though and reduce as the person continues with the therapy. 

Abuse 

Carisoprodol has been abused by some users, especially being combined with other narcotics such as codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and benzylmorphine to name a few, in order to potentiate the effects of the narcotic medications since the drug also works on the central nervous system.

The combination of these medications results in elevated euphoria, relaxation, and a sedating effect on the user. The careless combination of overdoses of carisoprodol with narcotic medications though has resulted in the death of those who used these drugs together.

The combination of carisoprodol and hydrocodone is referred to as a "Las Vegas cocktail" in some harm-reduction forums.

Association with meprobamate

When metabolized, carisoprodol has a similar structure to the medication meprobamate which has been a controversial drug in medicine for a long time.

Meprobamate, when combined with aspirin, can cause increased water retention in the brain which can lead to a coma and death. This is speculated to have been the cause of death of Bruce Lee. 

Schedule of carisoprodol

Because of the potential of carisoprodol to be abused together other narcotic medications, the drug enforcement agency (DEA) of the United States issued a Notice of Hearing on proposed rule-making to place carisoprodol as a schedule IV medication of the Controlled Substances Act.

This would mean that physicians will only be able to prescribe the medication under strict circumstances and will not be able to make carisoprodol a repeatable medication on their prescriptions. Carbon copies of the scripts will also need to be placed in the patients' files as required by law. The result is that patients would have to consult with their doctors on, at the very least, a monthly basis to renew their scripts for their medication. The prescriptions will also have to be originals accepted by the pharmacy dispensing the medication and no copies of prescriptions will be accepted.

Drug screening

Carisoprodol is not detected on routine drug screening. If there is a query as to whether the person is using the medication, then specific drug screening tests using blood and urine specimens will need to be performed.

If a patient tests positive for narcotic medications, and this is due to recreational use of the drugs, then the mentioned specific tests may pick up the presence of carisoprodol in the patient.

It's important to mention though that the presence of carisoprodol alone in a specific drug screening test will not trigger any further legal action unless the medication hasn't been prescribed and it is discovered in the presence of a narcotic medication that has also not been prescribed by a registered doctor with a DEA number.

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