Compare Skelaxin vs. Zanaflex

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Skelaxin
(metaxalone)

Zanaflex
(tizanidine)

Relaxes your muscles. Skelaxin (metaxalone) is used for muscle spasms and musculoskeletal pain with mixed results.Relaxes your muscles. Zanaflex (tizanidine) isn't a first-choice treatment for muscle spasticity. Try other options before using this.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Skelaxin (metaxalone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Zanaflex
81%
+19% better vs. Skelaxin
73%
-23% worse vs. Skelaxin
19%
+19% better vs. Skelaxin
Have you used Zanaflex (tizanidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
SkelaxinZanaflex

The Skelaxin FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Skelaxin side effects »
  • Dry mouth 39%
  • Sleepiness 38%
  • Weakness 25%
  • Dizziness 12%
  • Urinary tract infection 3%
  • General infection 1%
  • Liver test abnormality 4%
  • Constipation 3%
  • Hay fever 1%
  • Abnormal speech 3%
More Zanaflex side effects »
How it works
SkelaxinZanaflex
How Skelaxin (metaxalone) works is not exactly known. It is believed that it works on the brain to help relieve muscle pain and relax muscles.Zanaflex (tizanidine) is an alpha2-adrenergic agonist that works in the nervous system to calm down muscle spasticity.
Type of medication
SkelaxinZanaflex
Prescription only
Available as
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • Musculoskeletal Pain
Risk factors for serious side effects
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • Taking other medications that also cause sleepiness
  • Recreational drug use
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Taking antidepressants
  • Higher than recommended doses of Skelaxin (metaxalone)
Detailed Skelaxin (metaxalone) risks & warnings »
  • Taking maximum doses of Zanaflex (tizanidine)
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Currently on blood pressure control medications
  • Taking other medications that also cause sleepiness
  • Recreational drug use
Detailed Zanaflex (tizanidine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy
Food
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • Can be taken with or without food. However, Skelaxin (metaxalone) may be stronger when taken with food, especially if you are older. Be on the lookout for more pronounced drowsiness or sleepiness.
  • Can be taken with or without food, but you need to be consistent since food affects how the medication is absorbed and works.
  • Need to be consistent every day in taking this with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • People who have any liver or kidney problems should not use Skelaxin (metaxalone). Skelaxin (metaxalone) is broken down by the liver, and eliminated from the body via the kidneys. If either of those are not working at their best, you could have high levels of Skelaxin (metaxalone) in your body and more side effects.Your liver could also worsen. Talk to your doctor as you may need to get routine blood test for your liver and kidneys if you already have liver/kidney problems.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Sleep
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • Taking Skelaxin (metaxalone) with alcohol or narcotics can worsen the drowsiness.
  • Can make you very drowsy or sleepy
  • Taking Zanaflex (tizanidine) can make you feel sleepy and dizzy, especially if you're taking other medications that can also make you feel sleepy, or if you're taking recreational drugs or drinking too much alcohol. Avoid driving or doing other tasks that require concentration until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Can cause dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
Upsides and benefits
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • Can be used for muscle spasms and muscle pain if other medications have not worked.
  • Available as generic.
  • Slightly less sedation and side effects compared to other muscle relaxants.
  • Relieves muscle spasticity.
  • Available as a generic.
  • Available in a tablet or capsule form. It also comes in a capsule that can be opened and sprinkled in applesauce for people that can't swallow pills.
Downsides and risks
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • Effects don't last that long. You need to take Skelaxin (metaxalone) up to 3-4 times daily.
  • Several studies showed mixed results when Skelaxin (metaxalone) was compared with a sugar pill for treatment of muscle spasms and musculoskeletal pain.
  • Can make you very drowsy or sleepy
  • Even though a generic is available, it is still fairly expensive.
  • This isn't a first-choice muscle relaxing medication. Other drugs work better and have fewer side effects.
  • Takes over an hour to kick in and only lasts 3 to 6 hours.
  • Zanaflex (tizanidine) can lower blood pressure, so be careful if you are already on a blood pressure medication.
  • Need to be consistent every day in taking this with or without food.
  • Elderly individuals have more side effects when taking Zanaflex (tizanidine).
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
SkelaxinZanaflex
  • Can be taken with or without food. However, Skelaxin (metaxalone) may be stronger when taken with food, especially if you are older. Be on the lookout for more pronounced drowsiness or sleepiness.
  • Skelaxin (metaxalone) can make you feel very tired or sleepy. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how it affects you.
  • Taking Skelaxin (metaxalone) with alcohol or narcotics can worsen the drowsiness.
  • Skelaxin (metaxalone) can also have a more pronounced effect on women.
  • Can cause dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
  • Avoid activities requiring mental alertness (like driving) until you know how it affects you.
  • Can be taken with or without food, but you need to be consistent since food affects how the medication is absorbed and works.
  • The tablets are not the same as the capsules. This could mean differences in how your body reacts to it, or how it works for you.
  • If you have been on Zanaflex (tizanidine) for a long period of time, you should not stop this abruptly. This can result in rebound high blood pressure, muscle spasticity or fast heart beat. Talk to your doctor about how to slowly lower your dose.
Learn more
More about SkelaxinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Skelaxin (metaxalone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ZanaflexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zanaflex (tizanidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it