Zanaflex (Tizanidine) is a short-acting muscle relaxer.
Tizanidine is used to relieve the spasms and increased muscle tone caused by multiple sclerosis (MS, a disease in which the nerves do not function properly and patients may experience weakness, numbness, loss of muscle coordination and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control), stroke, or brain or spinal injury. Tizanidine is in a class of medications called skeletal muscle relaxants. It works by slowing action in the brain and nervous system to allow the muscles to relax.
Tizanidine comes as a tablet and a capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken consistently either always with or always without food two or three times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take tizanidine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Tizanidine capsules may be opened and sprinkled on soft foods such as applesauce. Talk to your doctor before opening the capsules because the effects of the medication when used in this manner may be different than when swallowing the capsule whole.
The medication in the capsule is absorbed differently by the body than the medication in the tablet, so one product cannot be substituted for the other. Each time you have your prescription filled, look at the tablets or capsules in the bottle and make sure that you have received the right product. If you think you received the wrong medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist right away.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of tizanidine and gradually increase your dose, depending on your response to this medication.
Do not stop taking tizanidine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking tizanidine, your heart may beat faster and you may have increased blood pressure or tightness in your muscles. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
More information/images in the Prescription Drug Brochure.