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Systematic (IUPAC) name
(RS)-2-hydroxy-3-(2-methoxyphenoxy)propyl carbamate
Clinical data
Pregnancy cat.
Legal status
Routes Oral, intravenous
Pharmacokinetic data
Metabolism Hepatic
Half-life 1.14–1.24 hours[1]
CAS number  YesY
ATC code M03
ChemSpider  YesY
Chemical data
Formula C11H15NO5 
Mol. mass 241.241 g/mol

Methocarbamol is a central muscle relaxant used to treat skeletal muscle spasms. Under the trade name Robaxin, it is marketed by Actient Pharmaceuticals in the United States and Pfizer in Canada. The mechanism of action of methocarbamol is currently unknown, but may involve the inhibition of carbonic anhydrase.[2] The muscle relaxant effects of methocarbamol are largely attributed to central depressant effects;[3] however, peripheral effects of methocarbamol to prolong muscle refractory period have also been reported.[4]


  • Metabolism 1
  • Marketing 2
  • Abuse potential 3
  • Side-effects 4
  • Chemistry 5
  • References 6


Methocarbamol is the carbamate of guaifenesin, but does not produce guaifenesin as a metabolite, because the carbamate bond is not hydrolyzed metabolically; metabolism is by Phase I ring hydroxylation and O-demethylation, followed by Phase II conjugation. All the major metabolites are unhydrolyzed carbamates.[5][6]


Generic Methocarbamol 750mg Oral Tablet.

Methocarbamol is marketed under different names when presented in combination with other active ingredients. In combination with acetaminophen (Paracetamol), under trade names Robaxacet and Tylenol Body Pain Night, whereas Robax Platinum is the trade name for a formulation of methocarbamol and ibuprofen.[7][8] A combination of methocarbamol and aspirin is marketed as Robaxisal, however in Spain the tradename Robaxisal is used for the Paracetamol combination instead of Robaxacet.

Abuse potential

Unlike other carbamates such as meprobamate and its prodrug carisoprodol, methocarbamol has greatly reduced abuse potential. Studies comparing it to lorazepam (Ativan) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl), along with placebo, find that methocarbamol produces increased "liking" responses and some sedative-like effects, however, at higher doses dysphoria is reported. It is considered to have an abuse profile similar to, but weaker than, lorazepam.[9]


Potential side-effects include: drowsiness, dizziness, clumsiness (ataxia), upset stomach, flushing, blurred vision, and fever. Both tachycardia (fast heart rate) and bradycardia (slow heart rate) have been reported;[10][11] these can be serious. Other serious side-effects include the development of a severe skin rash or itching, fainting, jaundice, persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, mental/mood changes, trouble urinating, signs of infection. If taken in large amounts at once or more than directed or as prescribed, dysphoria or suicidal thoughts may occur.[12] In addition, methocarbamol may cause urine to turn black, blue, or green. However, this effect is harmless.[13]

Methocarbamol has a high therapeutic index, i.e. a wide range of safe & effective dosages. Consumer (OTC) doses are in the range 3-6 gm/day,[14] while clinical doses can be as high as 24 gm/day for severe conditions such as tetanus.[15]

Because of potential for side-effects, this drug is considered to be a high-risk medication for the elderly.[16]


Methocarbamol can be synthesized from guaifenesin by successive reaction with phosgene and then ammonia.[17][18]

Methocarbamol synthesis


  1. ^ Sica DA, Comstock TJ, Davis J, Manning L, Powell R, Melikian A, Wright G. (1990). "Pharmacokinetics and protein binding of methocarbamol in renal insufficiency and normals".  
  2. ^ Parr JS, Khalifah RG. (1992). "Inhibition of carbonic anhydrases I and II by N-unsubstituted carbamate esters". J Biol Chem 267 (35): 25044–25050.  
  3. ^ Truitt EB Jr., Little JM. (1958). "A pharmacologic comparison of methocarbamol (AHR-85), the monocarbamate of 3-(o-methoxyphenoxy)-1,2-propanediol with chemically related interneuronal depressant drugs". J Pharmacol Exp Ther 122 (2): 239–246.  
  4. ^ Crankshaw DP, Raper C. (1968). "Some studies on peripheral actions of mephenesin, methocarbamol and diazepam". Br J Pharmacol 34 (3): 579–590.  
  5. ^ Methocarbamol. In: DRUGDEX System [intranet database]. Greenwood Village, Colorado: Thomson Healthcare; c1974–2009 [cited 2009 Feb 10].
  6. ^ Bruce RB, Turnbull LB, Newman JH. (Jan 1971). "Metabolism of methocarbamol in the rat, dog, and human". J Pharm Sci 60 (1): 104–106.  
  7. ^ "New Drugs and Indications Reviewed at the May 2003 DEC Meeting" (PDF).  
  8. ^ "Tylenol Body Pain Night Overview and Dosage" (website).  
  9. ^ "Subjective and behavioral effects of diphenhydramine, lorazepam and methocarbamol: evaluation of abuse liability". Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Retrieved 2011-05-06. 
  10. ^ medical-dictionary_thefreedictionary-methocarbamol
  11. ^
  12. ^ METHOCARBAMOL – ORAL (Robaxin) side effects, medical uses, and drug interactions. Retrieved on 2011-11-09.
  13. ^ Methocarbamol: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Retrieved on 2011-11-09.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ See NCQA’s HEDIS Measure: Use of High Risk Medications in the Elderly
  17. ^ R.S. Murphey, U.S. Patent 2,770,649 (1956)
  18. ^ Yale, H. L.; Pribyl, E. J.; Braker, W.; Bergeim, F. H.; Lott, W. A. (1950). Journal of the American Chemical Society 72 (8): 3710.  
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