Other names: Zanaflex
Tizanidine is a drug used to treat spasticity and spasms in multiple sclerosis. There have been several studies of the drug that showed it beneficial as a treatment for spasticity when compared to placebo. Other studies have shown tizanidine to be as effective as other spasticity drugs. The NICE MS Guideline states that tizanadine can be used if treatment with baclofen or gabapentin has not been successful.
How does tizanidine work?
It is thought that tizanidine blocks impulses through the nerves that cause muscles to tighten, thus reducing the level of spasticity.
How do I take tizanidine?
Tizanidine is taken orally as a tablet. Medication can be increased in steps until the desired effect is achieved or side effects become a problem.
Side effects and contraindications
The most frequent side effects are tiredness, drowsiness, dry mouth, changes in heart rate and a decrease in blood pressure. Liver function tests should be checked during the first months of treatment. Whilst tizanidine can cause muscle weakness, this seems to be significantly less than that caused by other spasticity drugs.
Spasticity and spasms
Spasticity is a symptom of MS where the muscles feel stiff, heavy and difficult to move. A spasm is a sudden stiffening of a muscle.
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Last updated: January 2018
Last reviewed: January 2018
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- Neurology 1994;44(11 Suppl 9):S70-78. Summary A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of tizanidine in treatment of spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis.
- Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 1988;77(3):224-230. Summary Tizanidine versus baclofen in the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients.
- Drugs 1997;53(3):435-452. Summary Tizanidine. A review of its pharmacology, clinical efficacy and tolerability in the management of spasticity associated with cerebral and spinal disorders.
- London: NICE; 2014 Full Guideline Management of multiple sclerosis in primary and secondary care