Summary: Soma is a centrally acting muscle relaxant and is sold in the U.S. uner the trade name of Soma and in European countries under the trade names of Sanoma and Carisoma. It is an FDA approved drug but some countries are taking it off the market over concerns related to abuse.
Soma is the American marketing name of Carisoprodol. It is a centrally acting skeletal muscle relaxant. Its solubility is independent of pH and it is totally soluble in acetone, chloroform, and alcohol and partially soluble. Soma can be consumed standalone, but it can also be sold mixed with aspirin. Carisoprodol is quite old, it was discovered by accident in the late 50’s. Originally intended to be an antiseptic, it was found to have muscle relaxation properties. It is based on meprobamate, owing to several desirable properties this has like better muscle relaxation and less chance of abuse. The name is derived from the name of an ancient Indian hallucinogenic medicine that has been written about in Sanskrit texts.
Although approved by the FDA, there have been reports that the drug has potential for abuse. And it has all the related problems associated with recreational drugs like problems realted to dependence and withdrawal. Hence, in European countries and even in Canada, alternatives are preferred. In November 2007, the drug was taken off the market in Sweden after it was found that it has no significant advantage over alternatives and in fact has some addiction related drawbacks. Less than a year later, Norway also took the drug off the market. The European Medicines Agency in the European Union has released a statement recommending not to use this drug in the treatment of acute back pain. It can however, be used to treat chronic back pain.
In the United States Carisoprodol is not a controlled substance under federal laws but 19 states have classified it as a schedule IV controlled substance. Main concerns about this drug are that tolerance develops very quickly and a patient has to take more of this medicine in order to achieve the desired effects. And the problem with ingesting more of this is that dependence sets in. Hence this drug is not recommended for people who have had a history of addiction.
Carisoprodol is available only by prescription and physicians are usually wary of prescribing it and will consider other options before prescribing it. Although not a controlled substance, the potential for abuse exists. Its usage is limited to no more than two or three weeks maximum and it has to be withdrawn gradually. The drug is primarily an analgesic, a pain killer and causes mild euphoria. And it is also a sedative so one should refrain from driving or operating machinery after ingesting this.