carisoprodol, also known by the brand name soma, is a carbamate sedative-hypnotic. carisoprodol is used medically as a centrally-acting muscle relaxant, anxiolytic and hypnotic for the short-term treatment of insomnia. carisoprodol also has weak analgesic effects. carisoprodol is sometimes found in formulations also containing caffeine and acetaminophen. carisoprodol produces similar effects to barbiturates. carisoprodol acts as a prodrug to meprobamate, meaning it is metabolized to meprobamate when it enters the body.
carisoprodol, like barbiturates, has been primarily replaced by benzodiazepines due to a larger therapeutic window, having less severe adverse effects and being safer in overdose.
chemically, carisoprodol is classified as a carbamate. it is extremely similar in structure to meprobamate, the only difference being an isopropyl group bonded to an amine group. carbamates are derivatives of carbamic acid. the empirical formula is carisoprodol is c12h24n2o4 and has a molar mass of 260.33 grams per mole.
carisoprodol is a prodrug that is metabolized to meprobamate. the precise mechanism of meprobamate is not completely understood. however it is believed that meprobamate acts similarly to benzodiazepines and barbiturates, acting as a positive allosteric modulator of a gabaa receptor. unlike barbiturates and benzodiazepines, in animal studies meprobamate has been shown to retain most of its effects without having gamma-aminobutyric acid present. meprobamate has also been noted to be an adenosine reuptake inhibitor, making it unique among hypnotics.
carisoprodol is metabolized by the cytochrome p450 2c19 enzyme in the liver and has a biological half-life of about two hours. carisoprodol and its metabolites are excreted by the kidneys in urine.