Suicide on Pain-Killers: John’s Story

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June 4, 2013 | 33 Comments

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  1. Thank you so much for sharing your husband’s story. Although it must be hard to talk about, it may just save a life! I work with a lot of people with back injuries in the workers compensation system, and Flexeril is as common as water – it’s classified as a “muscle relaxant” and is regarded as a fairly benign drug I think — the worst I’d ever heard before this was that it made folks sleepy. Thanks for pointing out that it’s a close cousin to tricyclic antidepressants—I never realized! It’s also an “anticholinergic” which makes it capable of causing a lot of mental confusion, dizziness etc. if it gets too concentrated.

    One of the problems with a drug like this is that very few people are only taking this one drug. Too often people with chronic back pain are taking an opiate (or two); an anticonvulsant; a “muscle relaxant” which could be Flexeril, Skelaxin or the seriously habit-forming Soma (carisoprodol); a benzo and/or sedative-hypnotic for sleep; and maybe an antidepressant and an antipsychotic as well, if they’ve begun to feel like life’s not worth living (is it any wonder?) There’s a huge risk of strange drug interactions that can bring out the worst effects of any one drug, and the older we get the harder it is for our bodies to handle it. Some patients have a surgeon, a GP, a “pain specialist” and a shrink writing scripts, and none of these characters are talking to the others. I wish I were kidding, but I’m not.

  2. Thank you for writing about your husband John – I can fully understand how a person can be swept away by a drug’s side effects to the point where you are in a place where suicide becomes an option. At this point your own thoughts are being controlled by the drug.
    After being on Enbrel for 4 years for Rheumatoid Arthritis, I developed hallucinatory and auditory side effects. I became very uninhibited, which actually felt quite enjoyable at the time. I created the most unusual stories and my imagination ran riot.
    The voices I had begun to hear 24 hours a day- gradually over a period of time commanded me to consider suicidal options- I argued constantly against the commands- even choosing two possible options for suicide- (overdose and crashing the car in a place which wouldn’t harm anyone else) But at the same time I would ‘tell’ these voices that I wouldn’t be actually committing suicide however, these were the choices I could make – hoping this would alleviate the pressure from the commands and they would just go away!
    I even asked my GP – on a visit about something routine if he believed people could be telepathic- to which he didn’t pick up on my reason for questioning and made the comment
    that it was neither impossible or possible. So I carried on.
    Eventually I was caught up in a loop when the commands would continuously be thrown my way and I would respond by saying in my mind- I would not be carrying out the orders. This happened over and over again.
    This lead me to one day – just getting up and taking myself down to the police station to report whoever it was giving me these commands! I demanded that MI5 should be informed! It was all seemingly very real. I had had enough>
    I was still completely oblivious to what was causing this phenomenon and convinced I could sort it out by myself.
    My head raging and banging with these constant ‘voices’ I arrived in A&E- sympathetically escorted by the police and was admitted to hospital.
    After the appropriate medicine was given to me – it all started to calm down- leaving me to then sort out the aftershock that followed- feeling like Alice having been pulled from the rabbit hole minus everything I originally went into it with- I set about repairing my mind’s balance -.with the help of an excellent team of mental health experts and a lot of determination on my part. .
    I feel the medical profession should never underestimate the power of drugs and their ability to take over a person’s mind- to the point , for some , like John, of no return.
    I was lucky – not everyone has been or will be.
    Suicide caused by drugs needs to be acknowledged.
    People need to be aware and motivated to check out the drugs they are being prescribed and then to challenge their GPs or Consultants if necessary.
    But once caught up in the unrelenting labyrinth of a drug’s mind bending power- it isn’t easy to escape.

  3. I read the cyclobenzaprine adverse reaction database in Canada after almost having a heart attack or stroke but they probably shouldn’t have been giving me Tramadol at the same time. Most reactions are death, it is scary since it seems to have few side-effects.
    I have almost committed suicide on Ciprofloxacin because I could not get medical care and could not stand the pain.

  4. My gorgeous fiance took his own life nearly seven weeks ago. He was suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis and taking Sulfasalazine. He had no history of depression whatsoever. he had been taking these tablets for approx two months. we think, after searching the internet that there is a link. Any help… please????

  5. This to happened to me. I had several buldging disks in my cervical vertebra. I was prescribed 2 a day. It made me very sleepy but I was in so much pain I continued to take as prescribed. A week later I became extremely suicidal and had it not been for my daughter calling a friend of mine to come help I would not be here today. The fact that I put my daughter in that situation is totally not me. I warn everyone I know who has be prescribed this medication.

  6. I have been prescribed cyclobenzaprine Flexeril for lower back pain. After three days at the prescribed dose I was extremely suicidal with crying jags and the overwhelming need to put an end to my mental anguish. None of my physician’s were aware of this potential side effect. I occasionally take cyclobenzaprine at 1/4 the recommended dose (again for lower back pain). If I take it for more than two days running I experience the same hortible feelings. It’s like clockwork. And even understanding that it’s an effect of the drug doesn’t help. It’s a very out-of-control feeling.

    Please use extreme caution if you or your loved ones are taking this drug.

  7. Thank you for writing about this..I have been on this drug only 2 days and taken only two doses. In that time, I got in trouble at work for an oversight and miscommunication which has never happened, hit a construction cone when driving which has also never happened, and when I saw that my husband has been massively binge drinking, I had suicidal thoughts. I wouldn’t do it, but I was curious if all this stuff was related to this med. I don’t think I’m going to be taking it anymore. It’s also made me really irritable, aggressive, short fused (I know it’s all basically the same), and somewhat depressed. And now I can’t sleep. I don’t feel like they should give this drug to anyone with a history of anxiety or depression or sleep disorder. I’m under 30.

    • Sorry three doses, not two. The side effects showed up after the third dose. I had no trouble with the first two.

      • And I forgot to mention, extremely groggy even after it should wear off. My body feels like a brick. My thoughts are really disconnected which is probably why I’ve made so many posts sorry. I need a day for my body to detox this crap so I can feel like myself again.

    • I took muscle relaxers after a wreck, off and on, due to depression caused by the pills. My doctor’s continued to give lower strength relaxers but I continued to have suicidal thoughts. I have a Wonderful Life and beautiful children. I would spiral down into the depression before I could stop it. My husband would find me laying on the floor staring out the windows with tears slowly streaming down my face. I had no control over the sad thoughts. I tried to stem them with all of my blessings, but I still felt like there was no hope in the world.
      I gave up on the muscle relaxers. I did end up with several surgeries, but avoided the pills.
      Eventually I saw a doctor that insisted on me trying children’s muscle relaxers. She said I must have a “problem with depression” and added depression to my case. I argued against it, but she cited her degrees from very big universities and all her studies. I tried the pills and within 2 days I was laying on the floor again.
      Fortunately, I am married and have a wonderful husband that watched for the symptoms and double backed to check on me often after leaving the house. Otherwise, I don’t know that I would have even made the link to the pills.
      I am still injured and decided to give a pill a try last night after 2 years and here I am on the internet looking up the cause of the depression. Now, I see, it was not just me. It is the pill side affects causing actual suicidal thoughts. I don’t suffer from depression. I am a happy person with a wonderful world. These pills do not remove the wonderful world, they just create such lack of hope that I become a mess of hopeless suicidal thoughts.
      So, glad to know that this info is getting out there. Doctor’s really pressured me to continue to take the pills. They seemed oblivious to the facts about the depression the pills cause. The last young doctor that was so arrogant really used high pressure sales tactics to get me to use the pills. My husband had to go with me into doctor’s offices and fight to get a different method of treatment for my injuries.
      What I really needed was surgeries for torn ligaments, but the doctors had to follow protocols for the insurance to approve the surgeries. Muscle relaxers were part of the protocol.

      • This may be too late, I know you posted quite a while ago. I was reading a post about flexeril and suicidal thoughts. I saw your comment and wanted to respond. I hope you get it. Doctors only prescribe meds because that is only what they are taught in school. The AMA (American Medical Association) was actually create by Big Pharma and they still control what our ‘soon to be doctors’ are taught in school. I really wanted to be an MD, and would have been if I had not learned the lies of the AMA.

        One of the absolute best muscle relaxers is ….surprise….all natural magnesium. We are super deficient and it is responsible for over 800 processes in the body. I would Highly recommend a transdermal magnesium oil (something you spray on your skin) as opposed to something you take internally. When you ingest it, there is only so much your body absorbs. It is a muscle relaxer, so it also relaxes the muscles in your digestive system giving you diarrhea. Taking it transdermaly allows you high doses without those horrible side effects. It may cause temporary itching where it is applied. But that is normally a sign of magnesium deficiency.

        As for an anti-inflammatory….TUMORIC. Put it in your smoothies…get a high quality supplement. I make my own, but if buying, I only recommend Dr Schulz, or Food Babe….Truvani just came out with one. Try those for your anti-inflammatory You wont hear about these from most doctor bc they cant put a patent on truly natural products and the pharmaceutical companies wont make money on it. You doc probably doesn’t even know. Mine doesn’t….he’s a great guy…just ignorant as all get out.

        I would be a doctor. Was my calling. Have the brains, LOVED school, and was pre-med before I found out the the entire medial system was a lie.

        Hopefully this can help you. You must do your own research and put your power back in your hands.

    • Hi jess, I’m a veteran and been doing intensive care for 14 mi the. I hurt my back at work in September 2016 I attempted suicide with15 flexril in October . I was in the parking lot of the hospital when I did it. I started walking to the door but never made it. The security guard found me outside. I was uncounsious and not breathing . A day later I woke up intubated and on life support . The drs told me flexril stops yours lungs. I put my body such shock. I made it but had severe loss of short term memory and still have some effects and trachea infection from the ventilation tubes. I felt fine days before and was so impulsive but I’m still seeking help for my depression

  8. I was having serious lower back pain out of nowhere. On a scale of 1-10 the pain could easily be at a 8 or 9. This pain went on for 3 weeks for me. I’m young only 29 didn’t get hurt in a accident or anything but I could barely get up to use the bathroom without being in so much pain and having to walk like a huntchback everywhere. I finally decided I needed to go to a doctor before my back got much worse. I told the doctor all the drugs I had been taking in the time my back pain started. 1 of the drugs the doctor prescribed me was cyclobenzaprine. The first day I took it, it seemed to work how it should. The pill made the pain in my back bareable for that first night. The next day my back pain felt worse than before. For the next 4 days I took the recommended dose but it didn’t seem to do anything for me. On the morning of day 5 I woke up feeling extremely depressed and had severe anxiety. I was crying for about an hour. I have never felt like this in my entire life and I’ve experienced some harder drugs in my younger adult life at 18-20 years of age. I decided that morning I wouldn’t be taking the drug anymore. Having experienced how bad of depression it gave me I have no doubt it would cause some people to become suicidal.

  9. I was perscribed Flexeril for cervical and spinal stenosis/herniated disk. I also have been diagnosed with BPD & PTSD.

    Two years ago, I took about 50 flexeril and ended up in a coma with 48 hours to survive. My doctor is very aware of my mental illness and it is marked on my charts.

    Yet, I am able to refill perscription anytime. I just reordered it.

  10. This may have helped save my life. Thank you for sharing. I will quit taking cyclobenzaprine and pray the side effects, including suicidal thoughts, stop.

  11. Thank you for your story. I took a cyclobenzaprine last night. I am almost overwhelming depressed today. I am struggling every moment today. I will not take it again tonight.

    • I would read my comment I just had a suicide attempt in October which left me on life support and intubation from taking 15 flexril . It stopped all my breathing

  12. yeah im 16 years old and i took clycobenzaprine and i got suspended from school today which i havent in 2 years and now i just wanna kill myself i feel like nothing is worth living for what is the point of life like its shit i have nothing to look forward to my life is shit everything sucks i wanna die and get it over with i didnt ask to be born in the first place and life sucks what is life i wanna die and kill myself and i never felt like this before

    • Adam stop taking the clycobenzaprine immediately and consult with a parent or friend about how you’re feeling. It’s very important that you do this. Life can be confusing and hard at times but you must continue to fight against these negative thoughts.

      You can also can the suicide hotline at (800-273-8255) I hope you’re doing well.

  13. My mother started taking this a couple of days ago and shes changed so much. Shes so agitated and it’s not normal. I’m so glad I asked her about new rx she been taking because of her workers comp case doctor gave her these with no warning about agitation and suicidial thoughts

  14. I was on Flexryl for 11 months to control back spasms (20 mg/night) and began having suicidal thoughts. Fortunately I was still getting grief counseling for a death in the family so I had a safety net but neither of us could figure out why I was getting emotionally worse instead of better. Finally I went in to see the doctor about daytime sleepiness and told her I thought it was the Flexryl. She ignored my concerns and tried to talk me into a sleep apnea study (thousands of dollars, not covered by insurance). I ignored her suggestions and stopped taking the drug, felt much better very quickly. I was able to get back pain relief from accupunture, now I don’t even need OTC pain meds.

  15. Just to add my experience to this record: benzocyclaprine, aka flexiril, CAUSES suicidal ideation. At least for me it certainly did, and any one of my friends will tell you I am a very happy person who loves life very much. I’m the friend that they go to who will reason with them why life is worth living, the world is beautiful despite its many flaws, etc. I have a beautiful wife, a home in a picturesque town, and a 6 month old baby. I recently injured my back in what I think is a relatively minor way, which probably only requires some rest, massage and if I can afford it, physical therapy. A few days later I was hanging out at a friend’s house and I felt my back tightening up, and I casually asked if anyone had any muscle relaxers, since I had heard those help with spasms. One of my friends happened to have some benzocyclaprine from a recent injury, he said he doesn’t like the way it makes him feel and I could just have them. I took 2 (10mg maybe?) And felt better within the hour. Hooray! However, the next day my mind was sluggish, I was racked with anxiety and couldn’t stop thinking about how evil the world is, how hopeless life is with pain, and how it would be the easiest thing to escape via suicide. I even mulled over the quickest way to do it. NOW, I’m not saying I was at real risk of killing myself, since I know myself and that I am a happy person and that surely these thoughts would pass, I could never do that to my family etc. (However even those concerns seemed somewhat diminished in the face of the horror that is our existence from the perspective of a Flexeril hangover) BUT if I thought that seriously about suicide, then I can only imagine what a struggle it would be for someone who is already depressed. This drug is straight up dangerous. If you’re a doc, think long and hard before prescribing. If you’re a person with pain, especially someone with already bleak outlook, look for alternative therapy and Consider your options. This drug might be the last you take.

  16. My niece was prescribed Flexeril to help her sleep. OMG,,,, she has been to the emergency room over 12 times in the last 2 weeks , with chest pain, panic attack, hallucinations, sweating, diarrhea, cold clammy skin, hyperventilating, red face ,dry mouth ,every horrible side effect from this medicine . They kept telling her she was physcosamatic and was causing these symptoms to herself. Giving her Xanax , which is NOT to be mixed with flexeril . Then valium , omg they were killing her. Sending her home each time with no help. Her heart rate was off the charts , blood pressure sky high. This was a nightmare for her. . Then off to the hospital again. I am absolutely in shock at the way the hospital staff was treating her. She was in pain ,blazing headache neck and shoulder pain. But she never asked for pain medicine. Just help , and they were practically mocking her. She went to 3 different hospitals , multiple times to each one of them, with the same disregard for what was happening to her. Then her mother started to realize that each time she took her meds that shortly after, she would have another attack. Then finally , UC medical gave her a pain patch on her neck and shoulder and we stopped her from taking anymore flexeril , Xanax or valium . And for the first time in weeks , she made it through the night without an attack. She was a mess !!!!! Went from perfectly normally functioning young lady, to severely broken , barely able to walk , desperate , weak unable to function , confused , hallucinating and having a near death experience on a nightly basis . She was white as a ghost , dark circles under her eyes, red rash all over her cheeks and forehead. Her left arm would go cold as ice and turn blue. I witnessed this with my own eyes , was with her during episodes, called 911 went to the hospital with her , and watched , asked questions , tried and tried to get the medical staff to help her with no regard. I am shocked and appalled at the way she was done. This medicine should be abolished. Our family , and her mother are having post traumatic stress over this nightmare we’ve been through. We thought we were going to lose her and watching her near death experiences every night. I am certain she couldn’t have sustained this trauma to herself much longer. People please don’t take this medicine. It is a Monster.

    • Wow, I’m so sorry to hear that. If you don’t mind me asking, how much was she taking? I’m on 5 mg 3xs daily. Thank goodness I’m one of the lucky ones who has minimal side effects. I ask about her dosage because I WAS going to ask my Dr. to up the dosage, but after hearing what happened to your poor niece, I’m scared to now.

    • Hello Judy, I’m sorry to hear about the ordeal your niece has been through. It’s a disgrace to to see the Healthcare “system” behave in such a callous manner. I certainly hope you’ve contacted lawyer’s. One for the conduct of the health care “system”,and one for the damages those drugs have done. Those drugs may have caused irreversible damages. I know from experience. Please make it a priority to order all her medical records also. I’ve been going through alot ,and the system doesn’t seem to want to offer any real health and healing.

  17. For many years I’ve been faced with chronic pain, depression, anxiety, PTSD,and then some. Through all of this, and the mistreatment from Dr’s ,Social Security, Judges, and so on….I’ve had to make it a priority to order my medical records. I’ve discovered negligence, to say the least. I’ve had certain diseases for many year’s, and not one physician bothered to even discuss them with me. Which is evident, they weren’t even trying to treat me for my spectrum of problems. They have however, made a point to prescribe dangerous drugs. Drugs that have caused irreversible damages. Several of them increase risk of suicidal tendencies. I don’t even trust Dr’s anymore : (. Does anyone else see “the system ” how I’m seeing it? I believe “the system ” wishes to weed out the weak. Noone wants to take accountability. But they’re sure happy to accept the insurance payments. It’s like most of the Dr’s have become licensed hit men in lab coats. I think everyone should wake up. Please make sure you order your health records, and take time to read and research anything you need to know.

  18. I take this drug for severe TMJ in need of jaw surgery and have never had suicidal thoughts from this drug. I have a long history of depression and suicidal thoughts including two attempted suicides when I was 12 and a teenager. I usually take one 10mg right before bed or a couple hours before. It makes me really sleepy, I sleep throughout the whole night and wake up with my jaw feeling good, but my body and eyes a little groggy. I’m noticing everyone’s dosage on here is extremely high. I have never taken more than one a day even on my worst days. Maybe this is something to add to the discussion in regards of dosage?

  19. I started cyclobenzaprine on Feb 14th, 2019 as a muscle relaxer for trapezius & arm pain and to help with sleep. I took 5 mg before bed each night. I quickly noticed the dry eyes and could no longer wear contacts. It made me experience vertigo and also feel very groggy the next day. But the pain seemed less, so I continued. By the 3rd day, I noticed I was agitated and depressed. I started crying often, which is abnormal. By the 10th day, I was completely hopeless and had thoughts of suicide. An overwhelming sense of doom. This was so scary and I couldnt figure out why. I have never had depression and am a naturally happy person. I stopped taking this and the suicide thoughts stopped and the depression seems to be lingering. How long until I am back to normal?

  20. I agree that Flexril/Cyclobenzaprine cause depression. This drug should be taking off
    the market. Please don’t give this drug to children. This drug give you two many uncomfortable side effects depression,dry Mouth,make body sweat smell funny,speech problems and etc. The side effects out weights the the benefits while on other pain medicine you might not know why you feel out of it. It is not related to the mental stress of being injury or in pain this drug makes happy people feels sad. This ismy experience with the using this drug.

  21. Very interesting. I found this page to find out if I can kill myself using cyclobenzaprine. Instead, I learned that the major depression I’ve experienced much of my adult life may be worsend by this drug which I was prescribed along with doxycycline, oxycodone and others following a bilateral mastectomy. I’ve had 3 reconstructive surgeries since that time and cyclobenzaprine is prescribed as part of a cocktail of drugs each time. Doctors should be better educated about the risks of the drugs they’re prescribing.

  22. I’m so glad that I came across this discussion. Whenever I have an unusual side effect from a drug, I look for information on the experiences of others to see if they’ve experienced similar effects. After taking Cyclobenzaprine at 10 mg for just a few days for muscle spasm, I noticed a change in my mood and mind set. My initial thought was maybe I was taking too many depressants bc I was also taking Tramadol at the same time. I realized after taking just the Cyclobenzaprine by itself, that that drug was the reason why I felt so hopeless, unmotivated, and wondering what the purpose of life was. I also experienced extreme irritability. Every little thing that anyone did I took very personally. If you are taking this drug and have experienced a change in mood, I strongly urge you to talk to your doctor about alternatives. It is unfortunate that many doctors don’t seem to know about these side effects before prescribing these drugs.

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