Muscle pain: Should we avoid this potentially dangerous (but still marketed) drug?

Muscle pain: Should we avoid this potentially dangerous (but still marketed) drug?

Vigilance. According to the journal Prescrire, a medication indicated in cases of muscle contracture exposes its consumers to serious allergic reactions. However, it is still marketed today in Europe.

Do you suffer from joint pain or muscle contractures? Be vigilant if you have to go to your medicine cabinet or pharmacy. A muscle relaxant tablet indicated in these cases could expose you to problematic allergic reactions, warns the review Prescribe.

Lumirelax® in the sights of the medical journal

This would be the muscle relaxant Lumirelax® (methocarbamol) marketed by the Juvisé Pharmaceuticals laboratory. This has no longer been available as a cream for several months, but the tablets are still on sale this October. Gold Prescribe warns: taking Lumirelax may result in serious allergic reactions such as angioedema and anaphylactic shock.

For the independent medical journal, its marketing must be stopped to protect patients. On the instructions, only the mention “This medication may cause allergic-type symptoms (…) If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist“, is listed, without further details.

Neurological accidents and convulsions, a bad reputation for 10 years

This is not the first time that the methocarbamol contained in Lumirelax® has been called into question. Prescribe had already included this drug on the list of drugs to be excluded in 2013, 10 years ago, because of these serious side effects and an effectiveness considered “uncertain” on painful muscle contractures.

  • In 2019, a commission from the French Medicines Agency (ANSM) in charge of the re-evaluation of medicines also concluded that methocarbamol tablets had an unfavorable benefit-risk balance. But after a vote, the ANSM and the firm chose to leave methocarbamol on the market;
  • In 2022, the ANSM indicated that it would restrict the use of methocarbamol to situations where “ the response to first-line non-drug and drug treatments proves insufficient”. The cream is now intended for patients aged 15 and over, and on medical prescription, due to the risk of neurological accidents and convulsions in children and infants. It is also recommended not to exceed a treatment duration of 8 days, whether for the cream or the tablets;
  • This year, Lumirelax® cream, containing methocarbamol, is no longer available on the French market, its marketing having been officially stopped due to “industrial difficulties” by Juvisé Pharmaceuticals.

“However, it is high time that there was also an end to the marketing of methocarbamol tablets, and this time with the aim of protecting patients” warns the magazine.

What should you replace the muscle relaxant with?

Lumirelax is not the first muscle relaxant to create controversy. In 2013, Myolastan and its generics were withdrawn from the market, because of their active substance, tetrazepam, which can cause rare but serious skin reactions, sometimes fatal.

In 2019, it was the turn of Decontractyl to be withdrawn from the market, for good reason.of adverse effects reported with treatments containing mephenesin, in particular cases of abuse and dependence with the specialty” then indicated the ANSM.

But what to do in case of muscle pain?

  • If necessary, the first instinct is to consult your doctor or pharmacist to find an alternative. Treatment with level 1 analgesics (paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) may be prescribed;
  • Non-drug alternatives also exist: relaxation sessions, physical activity, physiotherapy sessions, etc.
  • Finally, natural muscle relaxants, such as chamomile, peppermint essential oil, arnica, can also help relieve you, as a recent TipsForWomens article indicated to us.