Dantrolene is employed in the management of spasticity, characterized by the presence of muscle stiffness and tightness, as well as muscle spasms that arise from conditions such as spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or cerebral palsy. It additionally serves as a preventative measure, therapeutic intervention, or risk reduction strategy for malignant hyperthermia, a disorder characterized by a rapid elevation in body temperature and involuntary muscle contractions.
Dantrolene belongs to a category of medications known as skeletal muscle relaxants. Its mechanism of action involves targeting the nerves within the spinal cord to alleviate symptoms of spasticity and to effectively prevent and treat episodes of malignant hyperthermia.
Uses and Dosage
Dantrolene is administered orally in capsule form. When utilized for the treatment of spasticity, the typical dosage regimen involves once-daily administration for a duration of 7 days, followed by a gradual increment every 7 days until reaching a frequency of three to four times per day.
In the context of preventing malignant hyperthermia, dantrolene is typically prescribed three to four times daily, commencing 1 or 2 days prior to a surgical procedure. Following a malignant hyperthermia crisis, the medication is generally administered in four divided doses over a period of 1 to 3 days.
To ensure appropriate usage, adhere to the instructions provided on the prescription label. Strictly follow the prescribed directions for dantrolene administration, avoiding any deviation such as altering the dosage by increasing or decreasing the amount taken, or modifying the frequency beyond the recommendations issued by your doctor.
For the treatment of spasticity, your physician will likely initiate therapy with a conservative dose of dantrolene and gradually escalate it, not exceeding more than one increment every 7 days. Should your symptoms fail to exhibit improvement or worsen within a 45-day period of commencing dantrolene, promptly consult your doctor.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- muscle weakness
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- difficulty breathing or slow, shallow breathing
Prior to initiating dantrolene treatment, inform your healthcare provider or pharmacist about any known allergies, including allergies to dantrolene itself or other substances. This product may contain inactive ingredients that have the potential to elicit allergic reactions or other complications.
Before commencing medication, disclose your complete medical history to your doctor or pharmacist, particularly if you have a history of liver problems such as hepatitis or cirrhosis, breathing difficulties such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or heart problems.
Dantrolene has the potential to induce dizziness or drowsiness. The consumption of alcohol or marijuana can intensify these effects. Refrain from operating vehicles, machinery, or engaging in activities that necessitate alertness until you can safely do so.
This medication may increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Limit your exposure to the sun and avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Employ the use of sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Promptly notify your doctor if you experience sunburn or observe any skin blisters or redness.
During pregnancy, utilize this medication only when absolutely necessary. Engage in a thorough discussion with your doctor to assess the risks and benefits associated with its usage.
Dantrolene is excreted into breast milk. Prior to breastfeeding, consult with your doctor for appropriate guidance and recommendations.
Form and Strength
Dantrium is available in the following forms and strengths:
How long does it take for Dantrium to work?
Dantrium will work very quickly to treat malignant hyperthermia. For chronic spasticity, the oral capsules might take a little longer to kick in, but you should feel the effects within a few days.
Should Dantrium be taken with food?
For the most part, Dantrium can be taken with or without food.