Baclofen: Uses, Side Effects, Dosage, Interactions and Warnings

It is an oral and injectable medicine that relaxes the skeletal muscles.

Chemically, baclofen is related to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural neurotransmitter in the brain.

The neurotransmitters are chemicals that nerves use to communicate. GABA released by some nerves causes the activity of other nerves to decrease.

Baclofen, acting like GABA, is believed to block nerve activity within the part of the brain that controls skeletal muscle contraction and relaxation.

Baclofen was approved by the FDA in November 1977.

What are the uses of baclofen?

Baclofen is used to treat skeletal muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain caused by disorders such as multiple sclerosis.

It is also injected into the spinal cord (intrathecal) for the treatment of severe spasticity .

What are the side effects?

Common side effects of baclofen are:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Soft spot.
  • Dizziness
  • Headache.
  • Seizures
  • Sickness.
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Constipation .
  • Confusion.
  • Respiratory depression
  • Inability to sleep
  • Increased urinary frequency or urinary retention.

Abrupt discontinuation of oral baclofen can cause seizures and hallucinations.

Abrupt discontinuation of intrathecal baclofen can lead to high fever, rebound spasticity, muscle stiffness, and rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) that can progress to failure of various organs, including the kidney.

What is the dose of baclofen?

The usual starting dose of oral baclofen to treat spasticity in adults is 5 mg three times a day. Depending on the response, the dose can be increased by 5 mg every three days to a maximum of 80 mg / day in divided doses.

Dosage for adults (over 18 years)

Typical starting dose: You should start taking this medicine at the following times:

  • Days 1 to 3: Take 5 mg three times a day.
  • Days 4 to 6: Take 10 mg three times a day.
  • Days 7 to 9: Take 15 mg three times a day.
  • Days 10 to 12: Take 20 mg three times a day.

Your doctor will slowly increase your dose every three days. Your doctor can further increase your dose if necessary. Maximum dose: a total of 80 mg per day taken in four divided doses of 20 mg each.

What medications or supplements interact with baclofen?

Using baclofen with other drugs that also depress nerve function can lead to a further reduction in brain function.

In addition to the risk of depressing brain function, the use of baclofen and tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline [Elavil, Endep], doxepin [Sinequan, Adapin]) together can cause muscle weakness.

The use of baclofen and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (eg, phenelzine [Nardil], tranylcypromine, or [Parnate]) can lead to further depression of brain function and low blood pressure.

Because baclofen can increase blood sugar, the dose of antidiabetics may need to be adjusted when starting baclofen treatment.

Is baclofen safe to take if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Baclofen can be detected in the breast milk of mothers taking oral baclofen. No information is available on the presence of baclofen in the breast milk of mothers receiving baclofen intrathecally.

What else should I know about baclofen?

  • Baclofen is available as tablets: 10 and 20 mg.
  • Intratecal: 0.05 mg / ml, 0.5 mg / ml, 1 MG / ML, 2 mg / ml.
  • Baclofen should be stored between 15 C (59 F) and 30 C (86 F).
  • Gablofen and Lioresal are the brand names available for baclofen in the US.
  • Baclofen is available in a generic form.
  • You need a prescription to get this medicine.
  • Baclofen, (Gablofen or Lioresal) is a prescription medication for the treatment of skeletal muscle spasms, muscle stiffness, and pain caused by disorders such as multiple sclerosis.
  • Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed before taking any medication.

Important warnings

Do not stop taking this medicine without consulting your doctor. Stopping treatment suddenly can cause seizures and hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that is not real).

If you need to stop taking this medicine, your doctor will slowly reduce your dose over time.