Dantrium is a muscle relaxant drug that may be prescribed for those with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or following a stroke or spinal cord injury that causes chronic muscle spasms. This can affect your job, school, and home life by interfering with your ability to perform many tasks and activities.
Taking Dantrium can help you regain some of your independence so you require less outside help and can enjoy being able to relax. It may take a few weeks before you notice any improvements in your muscle spasms because you will be started out on a low dose of Dantrium and gradually build up to a dose you and your doctor are comfortable with. The slow and graduated dose increases will also help to reduce any side effects.
When taken as directed, Dantrium works directly on the muscle cells inside the area where calcium is stored. When an electrical signal is sent through the nerves, it releases a neurotransmitter and calcium is released from in the muscle cells, causing the muscle to contract. As Dantrium prevents the release of calcium, there is no contraction and your muscles remain relaxed and loose. Because of the way Dantrium works directly on the muscle, there are fewer side effects than with the drugs that work on the central nervous system.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the nerves in your central nervous system due to inflammation that causes the protective covering (Myelin) of your nerves to deteriorate. As a result, the electrical impulses decelerate as they travel along the nerve pathway and cause a progressive interference with your vision, speech, writing, and memory. The disrupted nerve signals can cause your muscles to become over-active with a loss of co-ordination that leads to spasms.
Cerebral palsy is an abnormality in your motor system as a result of a brain lesion. It is non-progressive; this means it will not become worse over time. Your motor system is responsible for your ability to move and control movements. These can be spastic due to this disease and make simple tasks difficult to carry out. Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy, Dantrium can help to minimize the jerks and spasms so you can carry out daily functions.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breast feeding before taking Dantrium as it may have to be decided if the benefits to you outweigh any risks to your unborn or nursing baby. Review other medical conditions you have with your doctor and list any OTC or Rx drugs you are taking, including herbal preparations and vitamin supplements as there may be contraindications if taken with Dantrium.
Dantrium may cause muscle weakness so it’s important to be aware that your balance and movement may put you at risk for a fall. If you notice that being able to swallow is difficult due to the use of Dantrium, talk to your doctor. Any therapeutic effects of Dantrium may be unnoticed for up to a week or more as your doctor will build up your dose slowly. Do not adjust your own dosage!