Soma (Carisoprodol) - Oral

What Is Soma?

Soma (carisoprodol) is an oral prescription medication used to relieve muscle pain. It is part of a class of medications known as muscle relaxers.

Carisoprodol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant thought to prevent your nervous system from sending pain signals back to your brain. CNS depressants can slow down the CNS. Because of its sedative effects, you should not take Soma with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol.

Additionally, Soma is classified as a controlled substance, meaning it has a potential for abuse and dependence. For this reason, it is essential to take Soma exactly as directed by a healthcare professional.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Carisoprodol

Brand Name(s): Soma, Vanadom

Administration Route(s): Oral

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Skeletal muscle relaxant, centrally acting

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: Potential for abuse

Active Ingredient: Carisoprodol

Dosage Form(s): Tablet

What Is Soma Used For?

Soma is often prescribed to treat discomfort related to acute (short-term), painful musculoskeletal conditions, such as arthritis, bursitis, and tendonitis, among others. 

Soma is used as a short-term treatment for only two to three weeks.

How to Take Soma

Take Soma by mouth as prescribed, with or without food. It is recommended to take the tablets at bedtime. 

You should only take Soma for two to three weeks. Taking Soma for longer periods of time can lead to misuse, dependence, and withdrawal. Contact your healthcare provider if your muscle pain symptoms continue after two to three weeks.

Soma

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

Storage

Store Soma at a controlled room temperature, which is about 68 F to 77 F. Always carry your medication with you while traveling. If flying, make sure to keep the original prescription-labeled bottle or box in your carry-on bag.

Don’t leave this medication in your car, especially if the weather is going to be very cold or hot.

What Are the Side Effects of Soma?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Like most medications, Soma can cause mild or serious side effects. Tell your healthcare provider about any side effects you experience while taking this medication.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

If any of these side effects don’t go away or become more severe, talk to your healthcare provider.

Severe Side Effects

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Nervous system problems, such as seizures, shakiness, agitation, and trouble moving your muscles
  • Heart problems, such as low blood pressure, fast heartbeat, flushing, or sudden reddening, of the face
  • Stomach problems, such as pain in the abdomen, nausea, and vomiting
  • Decrease in white blood cells, which can lead to an increased infection risk

Report Side Effects

Soma may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Soma Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For relaxing muscles:
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults and teenagers 16 years of age and older—250 to 350 milligrams (mg) three times a day and at bedtime.
      • Children and teenagers younger than 16 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your child's doctor.

Modifications

Soma has not been evaluated in people with reduced kidney or liver function. However, Soma does pass through the kidney and metabolize in the liver. Use the medication with caution if you have kidney or liver function problems.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Soma, take the next tablet as usual. Do not take extra to make up for the missed dose. Doing so can increase your risk for side effects.

For this medication to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times. It is important to take the medication as prescribed and try your best to not miss a dose.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Soma?

If you take too much Soma, you are at a higher risk of developing serious side effects, including:

  • Hallucinations
  • Vision problems
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Low blood pressure
  • Trouble breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

What Happens If I Overdose on Soma?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Soma, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after taking Soma, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

This medicine may cause some people to become dizzy, drowsy, or less alert than they are normally. Avoid driving, using machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.

This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that make you drowsy or less alert). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; medicine for seizures or barbiturates; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your medical doctor or dentist before taking any of the above while you are taking this medicine.

Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without first asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.

If your condition does not improve within two to three weeks, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Soma?

There are a few reasons why your healthcare provider may not choose Soma as part of your treatment plan.

Allergy

A person should not take Soma if they are allergic to the ingredients. Severe allergic reactions symptoms may include:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of tongue or throat
  • Trouble breathing

Alcohol

Soma can make you drowsy, and using it with alcohol can make that drowsiness worse. Consult your healthcare provider if you plan on drinking alcohol while taking this medication.

Dependence

The use of Soma can cause dependence or addiction. To help prevent this, don’t take the medication for more than three weeks.

Pregnancy

Soma should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks. It is best to talk to your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, so they can decide the best option for you.

Breastfeeding

Soma does pass into human milk. Talk with your provider if you are breastfeeding, as you may need to decide if you should stop taking Soma or stop breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding while taking Soma, monitor your baby for signs of sedation.

Age

This drug is not prescribed for use in children or adults 65 years of age or older.

Other Health Conditions

In certain individuals, the body may handle carisoprodol differently. A person should inform their healthcare provider if they have:

  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Enzyme CYP2C19 that works slowly
  • Porphyria

What Other Medications Interact With Soma?

Soma can interact with several medications.

Taking carisoprodol with some medications can cause an increased risk for side effects, such as drowsiness. Medications that can cause drowsiness when taken with Soma include:

  • Benzodiazepines (e.g., alprazolam, diazepam)
  • Opioids (e.g., hydrocodone, morphine)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, doxepin)
  • Omeprazole
  • Meprobamate

Taking Soma with medications such as rifampin or St. John’s Wort may decrease the effects of carisoprodol.

This list does not include all drugs that can interact with Soma. Before taking Soma, be sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbs you are taking. This will help you avoid potential interactions. If you have any questions about drug interactions, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

What Medications Are Similar?

Soma is part of a class of medications known as muscle relaxers.

A few other commonly prescribed muscle relaxers include:

Flexeril

Cyclobenzaprine oral tablets are often prescribed to help relax muscles. They can help with pain, discomfort, or stiffness caused by an injury or strain to your muscles. Just like carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine is intended for short-term use––two to three weeks at a time. The most common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, or dry mouth.

People taking medications that act on serotonin, such as some antidepressant medications, must avoid cyclobenzaprine, as it can increase the risk of developing a potentially life-threatening condition, serotonin syndrome.

Zanaflex

Tizanidine oral tablets and capsules, while still considered muscle relaxers, are part of a class of medications known as alpha-2-adrenergic agonists. Tizanidine reduces the activity of the nerves in the spinal cord that control muscles. This helps reduce muscle spasms.

Tizanidine is often prescribed to treat muscle spasms. Symptoms of muscle spasms include muscle stiffness, tightness, and pain. The most common side effects of tizanidine include dry mouth, urinary tract infection, dizziness, weakness, or constipation.

Skelaxin

Metaxalone oral tablets are often prescribed, in combination with rest or physical therapy, to treat painful muscle conditions. Common side effects tend to be mild and include drowsiness, dizziness, headache, or irritability.

People taking medications that act on serotonin, such as some antidepressant medications, must avoid metaxalone, as it can increase the risk of developing serotonin syndrome.

This is a list of drugs from the same class of medication as Soma. While the treatment of pain or muscle spasms may require multiple medications, this is not necessarily a list of drugs recommended to take with Soma. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Soma used for?

    Soma is part of a class of medications known as muscle relaxers. It can help with the short-term treatment of pain. Typically, treatment with Soma lasts for only two to three weeks.

  • How do I safely stop taking Soma?

    If you abruptly stop taking Soma, you can experience withdrawal symptoms. 

    Withdrawal symptoms might include:

    • Sleep problems
    • Hallucinations
    • Stomach pain
    • Muscle twitching
    • Vomiting

    Speak with your healthcare provider before stopping Soma. They will come up with a plan to help you gradually and safely stop the medication.

  • What are the side effects of Soma?

    The most common side effects associated with Soma include dizziness, drowsiness, or headache. Soma also has the potential for more severe side effects that can affect your nervous system, heart, or white blood cells.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Soma?

Soma is a safe and effective medication when used correctly. However, it does have the potential for serious side effects such as seizures, fast heartbeat, or pain in the abdomen. The most common side effects include drowsiness, headache, or dizziness.

It is important to inform your healthcare provider of all of your other health conditions, as well as any prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbs you are taking. This way your provider is able to make the best decision about what medication and what dose are safe and work best for you.

Speak with your healthcare provider to learn more about if Soma is the right medication for you and how to safely take the medication.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for education purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Food and Drug Administration. Soma (carisoprodol) tablets. Updated August 2018.

  2. U.S National Library of Medicine. DailyMed. Label: Flexeril- (cyclobenzaprine) hcl 10mg tablet, film coated. Updated October 2020.

  3. Food and Drug Administration. Zanaflex (tizanidine). Updated November 2013.

  4. U.S. National Library of Medicine. DailyMed. Label: Metaxalone tablet. Updated October 2020.

By Kaylea Swearingen, PharmD
Kaylea Swearingen is a registered pharmacist and health and wellness writer.