You should avoid taking tramadol and Flexeril together as the drugs have a potentially significant interaction.


Tramadol (brand name Ultram) is a pain reliever, technically classified as an opioid medication that is stronger than Tylenol or ibuprofen but not as strong as morphine or oxycodone. it works on both opioid receptors and also increases serotonin levels.


Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine) is a muscle relaxant that is used for short-term (2-3 weeks) treatment of muscle spasms along with rest and physical therapy.


Taking tramadol and Flexeril together may increase your risk of respiratory depression, which is slow or shallow breathing. This can cause a lower level of oxygen in your body which has potentially serious outcomes. Sedation or sleepiness is often the first sign/symptom that respiratory depression might be occurring. Taking these medications together can also cause CNS depression, or altered brain activity, which can cause:

  • Slower rate of breathing
  • Slower heart rate


A slower breathing rate is especially a concern when taking these two medications together because it can happen from two different mechanisms (respiratory depression and CNS depression).


Lastly, the combination of Tramadol and Flexeril can also increase your risk of bowel obstruction (a block in your digestive tract). They both affect the muscles in your digestive tract that help in the digestion and defecation processes. Slowing this process can cause paralysis of your gut muscles and lead to blockage, which is a serious concern.


As both medications are relatively short acting (~4-12 hours per dose), they could potentially be dosed on the same day, just not at the same time.


Summary

  • It is not recommended to take tramadol and Flexeril together because of their additive effects on potentially slowing your breathing rate as well as increasing the chance of a bowel obstruction.
  • If you need to take a pain reliever, consider taking something like Tylenol or ibuprofen while you are taking Flexeril.