Updated on November 27, 2023
6 min read

Soma Effects, Risks, and Treatment

Is Soma Addictive?

Yes. Despite its status as a Schedule IV controlled substance, it's common for people to use Soma recreationally and form an addiction.

Soma abuse can lead to addiction and occurs when people use the drug:

  • Without a prescription
  • For reasons other than its intended use
  • In higher doses than prescribed
  • In combination with other CNS depressants

Repeated Soma usage can produce two of the hallmark symptoms of addiction, including:

  • Tolerance: Increasingly higher doses are required to obtain the same effects.
  • Withdrawal: Stopping medication produces uncomfortable symptoms, including insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depression, and seizures.

Signs of Soma Addiction

Soma addiction often begins as the body builds tolerance. Users may require larger doses to feel the same effects and experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it. Soma addiction symptoms include:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Prioritizing Soma use over professional, familial, or social responsibilities.
  • Fluctuating appetite and weight
  • Isolating from loved ones

People with a history of substance addiction should seek professional medical advice before taking Soma.

What Is Soma?

Soma, also known as carisoprodol, is a centrally-acting skeletal muscle relaxant that exerts its therapeutic effects primarily on the central nervous system (CNS).1 It modulates neuronal activity within the CNS, particularly in the reticular formation and spinal cord, causing muscle relaxation.

Soma is an FDA-approved and Schedule IV controlled substance commercially available as a white tablet for oral consumption.

Soma pill

Healthcare professionals usually prescribe carisoprodol for pain relief from muscle injuries, including:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Muscle spasms

The effects of Soma occur within approximately 30 minutes of consumption and can last for 4 to 6 hours. Because Soma has sedative effects and is highly addictive, it should only be used for up to 2 to 3 weeks.3

Side Effects of Soma Use

Soma is a muscle relaxant with anxiolytic and sedative effects. The most common side effects are:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo (spinning, off-balance sensation)
  • Syncope (temporary loss of consciousness caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain)
  • Ataxia (difficulty walking)

Although less common, other significant side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Drops in blood pressure
  • Facial flushing
  • Irritability
  • Seizures (especially from an overdose)
  • Low blood counts

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What Are Soma’s Withdrawal Symptoms?

Soma withdrawal symptoms occur when someone who has developed a physical dependence on the drug stops using it suddenly. Common carisoprodol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Muscle twitching
  • Tremors
  • Chills
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis

More severe Soma withdrawal symptoms include tachycardia and ataxia. Tachycardia is a dangerous increase in heart rate, while Ataxia results in the loss of muscle coordination.

Soma Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal symptoms typically begin 12-48 hours after the last dose. Symptoms usually persist for an additional 48 hours after onset. The severity and duration of carisoprodol withdrawal depend on a user’s dosage and duration of use.

Withdrawal symptoms are worse for those who misuse Soma and combine it with other depressants, such as alcohol, opiates, or benzodiazepines.

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Is Soma Dangerous?

Soma can cause significant sedation and result in physical and mental impairment. These effects interfere with tasks requiring concentration, such as driving. This is why Soma use has been associated with motor vehicle accidents.

Many people using Soma recreationally combine it with alcohol and other drugs, such as Codeine or Alprazolam (Xanax), to achieve a euphoric high. These drugs have addictive effects, meaning your chance of experiencing severe side effects and overdose increases significantly.

Combining Soma With Other Drugs

Soma is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that causes different interactions with various drugs.

It can heighten sedation and impairment from other CNS depressants like:

CYP2C19 inhibitors, such as omeprazole or fluvoxamine, and CYP2C19 inducers, such as St. John's Wort and rifampin, can change how Soma works.

Aspirin may also have adverse interactions with carisoprodol.

Combining Soma with other CNS depressants is especially dangerous. Consult your healthcare provider for more information on how Soma may interact with other medications.

Can You Overdose On Soma?

Combining Soma with other CNS depressants can increase the risk of overdose. The overlap of overdose symptoms with other medications can also make diagnosis difficult.

Soma overdose produces symptoms such as:

  • Severe gait impairment
  • Amnesia
  • Agitation and violent outbursts
  • Confusion
  • Excessive sedation
  • Seizures

Severe overdoses can cause suppression of breathing, followed by coma and death.

Soma Abuse and Changing Legal Status

Data gathered from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) noted that 3.69 million people aged 12 and older used Soma for non-medical reasons in their lifetime. This is a significant increase from 3.06 million in 2011.1

Between 2007 and 2011, the drug was taken off the market in countries such as Norway, Sweden, and Indonesia. Carisoprodol became a Schedule IV controlled substance at the US federal level on January 11, 2012.

How to Prevent Teen Soma Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is a concern among teenagers since these drugs are easier to access and are perceived as less dangerous than illegal drugs. If you have prescription medication like Soma, always lock it away and check the amounts used.

The best way to prevent drug use in teenagers is to discuss its dangers. Tell your teenager that drugs like Soma lead to adverse effects when:

  • Not taken as prescribed
  • Consumed with alcohol or other drugs
  • Ingested via alternate methods such as injection

If symptoms of Soma addiction arise, treatment may be necessary.

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How Is Soma Addiction Treated?

Long-term, consistent treatment is essential for achieving lasting addiction recovery, often involving a combination of therapy, support groups, and other supportive measures.

Listed below are some treatment options you can seek out for soma addiction:

Supervised Medical Detoxification

Supervised medical detox is often required as part of Soma addiction treatment. If you have become addicted to Soma, your doctor will direct you to start tapering the dosage.

There are currently no FDA-approved medications to treat Soma addiction. However, tapering off Soma rather than ‘quitting cold turkey' helps avoid severe withdrawal symptoms. It typically takes 1 week to taper off the drug completely.

In-Patient Rehabilitation

An inpatient program is best suited for a person with severe addiction. A patient lives at the rehab center during treatment, adheres to a highly structured schedule, and has around-the-clock medical care on-site.

Outpatient Rehabilitation

An outpatient program is best suited for somebody with a moderate Soma addiction. In an outpatient program, a patient attends sessions while maintaining other personal commitments outside treatment, such as employment, school, and family obligations.

Support Groups

After medical detox, enrolling in a support group for recovering Soma addicts can help users tackle their addictive behavior at its root. It lets them solidify positive life changes and join a community around recovery.


Soma, also known as carisoprodol, is a centrally-acting skeletal muscle relaxant primarily affecting the central nervous system (CNS). Despite its status as a Schedule IV controlled substance, it’s common for people to use Soma recreationally and form an addiction.

Combining Soma with other CNS depressants increases your chance of severe side effects and overdose. If symptoms of addiction or abuse arise, treatment may be necessary.

If you or somebody you know is struggling with a Soma addiction, call (928) 723-1202 to speak with an addiction specialist and explore options for treatment.

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Updated on November 27, 2023

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