Carisoprodol is a medication used to treat muscle injuries and the accompanying pain that goes with such an injury. It is meant to be used as a short-term treatment for pain and use with other medications should be monitored carefully by medical professionals. Carisoprodol is known by the name brands Soma and Vanadom and is considered a Schedule IV controlled substance because of the potential for abuse. Combining the medication with other meds, or alcohol, can cause serious injury or death and therefore should be avoided. Also, sharing this medication with others is illegal because it is a controlled substance. It’s not a good idea to share medication in general, as what works for one person to treat an ailment or condition can cause medical issues in others.

What is Carisoprodol?

Carisoprodol is a muscle relaxant and pain control medication that blocks pain sensations between the nerves and the brain. It is usually prescribed to people who have suffered muscle injuries while working out, sports-related injuries, and some chronic pain ailments that tend to fluctuate in pain intensity. The medication is combined with therapy and other treatments for the best results. For example, a person who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia that is currently experiencing a flare in pain might be prescribed carisoprodol to help deal with the temporarily increased pain levels. The brand names for carisoprodol are Soma and Vanadom and can only be prescribed by a physician. As was mentioned previously, the medication should only be used for a short period of time, three weeks is the most common length, and should only be used as directed by a physician. Longer term use is normally discouraged, but in some cases of chronic pain treatment, a “use as needed” directive can be given, but that also should be monitored carefully by a physician.

Common Side Effects of Carisoprodol

Some of the more common side effects of carisoprodol include the following:

  • Drowsiness: It is advised that those taking this drug not operate machinery or drive cars until they are sure of how drowsy the medication will make them. For some, the effect is minimal at best but for others, the level of drowsiness can cause a dangerous situation if the person is driving or operating machinery.
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Less common but severe side effects from carisoprodol:

  • Allergic reaction: Mouth or facial swelling, hives, a rash or even breathing issues can be a side effect of taking this medication - If any of these reactions occur, seeking medical attention is advised
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations, fever, sweating, nausea, and vomiting from high levels of serotonin
  • Addiction

It is important to note that these side effects can take place even when the drug is used correctly. This is why anyone who is using this medication for treatment should be monitored carefully by a physician or other medical professional. Side effects can happen at any point during use, so it’s important that everyone is aware of the possibility.

Interactions of Alcohol and Carisoprodol

People will sometimes mix Carisoprodol and alcohol for the extra euphoric effect. However, the medication is a muscle relaxant, which means it makes muscles looser and less tense. This also means that there is a possibility that a person can lose the ability to effectively control what a muscle does when the body has too much relaxant, and this includes the muscles used for breathing and swallowing. Alcohol is a depressant, which can also work as a muscle relaxant. The combination of the depressant qualities of alcohol with the muscle relaxant qualities of carisoprodol can be deadly because it can cause a person to stop breathing, choke in their sleep, or lose consciousness while driving or operating a vehicle or machinery. There is also an increased risk of developing a tolerance to both alcohol and carisoprodol, dependence on both, and medical issues such as heart problems. In the event of increased dependence, withdrawal issues can also develop. This is part of why avoiding drinking while taking this medication is strongly recommended.

Alcohol Poisoning and Carisoprodol Overdose

Both alcohol and carisoprodol can have addictive properties, so the use of both should be carefully considered and using both at the same time is not recommended. In the event of addiction to either, medical intervention might be needed to assist with the withdrawal symptoms.

If overdose is suspected, some of the symptoms of carisoprodol overdose include:

  • Blurred vision
  • drowsiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Mental/mood changes
  • Unsteady movement/inability to control muscles

Overdose of alcohol symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Mental/mood changes
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech

The combination of these symptoms can be deadly, so if a person is experiencing any of these symptoms and has drank and taken this or any similar drug, you should call 911 immediately. If treatment is not received, it could result in multiple organ damage, depression, lethargy, confusion, sedation, or death.


Just as the symptoms of addiction and overdose are similar, withdrawal effects from carisoprodol and alcohol are also similar.

Some of these symptoms include:

  • Shaking and the inability to control movement
  • Insomnia
  • Mental/mood changes
  • Depression
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

The combination of all these symptoms can be more than a person can handle on their own. For those who might be struggling with withdrawal from the medication, alcohol, or both, seeking medical treatment is recommended, especially if depression or mental/mood changes become hard to manage.


In the event of an overdose of either carisoprodol, alcohol, or both, medical intervention is needed. The immediate treatment of the most life-threatening symptoms can be handled by emergency room staff or general hospitalization if needed. Hospitalization can last from a few hours to several days depending on the issues that need to be addressed. However, long-term treatment for addiction and withdrawal can be found at facilities that are equipped to handle such cases. Treatment centers can help, and those suffering from addiction can be treated as either an inpatient or outpatient, depending on the situation and the specific needs of the patient. It is important that treatment is given if needed as not doing so can lead to additional medical issues and even more life-threatening effects.