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Baclofen - Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Drug Warnings, and Precautions

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Baclofen is an antispasmodic drug. Learn about its uses, dosage, drug warnings, side effects, precautions, drug interactions, and more.

Written by

Dr. Lochana .k

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Jagdish Singh

Published At February 23, 2022
Reviewed AtFebruary 14, 2023

Overview:

Baclofen is an oral tablet and a prescription drug given for muscle spasms. It is also administered intrathecally. The administration of a drug through an intrathecal route is a beneficial drug for muscular problems caused by spinal cord disorders, multiple sclerosis, and injuries in the spinal cord. Keep this drug away from kids, as it can be fatal even if they consume a few tablets. This tablet can affect your vision by damaging the eyes. So it is essential to take these medications cautiously. It could lead to other side effects if you stopped abruptly.

Drug Group:

Baclofen belongs to a group of drugs called antispasmodics. It belongs to a class of medicines that are helpful skeletal muscle relaxants. This drug directly acts on the nerves in the spinal cord. It also helps to reduce the intensity of muscle spasms. The muscular movement develops with the usage of this drug. Pain relief is also achieved. This drug is given for patients who have prolonged hiccups. Abrupt withdrawal of this drug might cause seizures. Rhabdomyolysis is also a complication of this drug. It might be unsafe during pregnancy. But, doctors recommend the usage of this drug during breastfeeding.

What Is Baclofen Used For?

  • The first and foremost usage of Baclofen is for muscular pain and spasms. The cause of spinal cord traumas is identified first, and the dosage of this drug is prescribed accordingly. Patients who are suffering from multiple sclerosis develop problems in the functioning of the immune system. It will disrupt the nerve fibers. In such cases, Baclofen is recommended.

  • The voluntary muscle movement is greatly improved with this drug. The stiffness and tightness of the muscle are relieved.

  • Baclofen is recommended for spinal cord tumors, transverse myelitis, motor neuron disease, and syringomyelia.

How Does Baclofen Work?

Baclofen is known to act on the central nervous system and will interact with the functioning of it. The transmission of information between the nerve cells is reduced. Stiffness of the muscle will happen only when there is an excessive contraction of the muscles. This drug will reduce muscular contractions and will prevent stiffness and spasms. Baclofen is also known to have a chemical correlation to gamma-aminobutyric acid-GABA. This GABA component helps in the interaction between the nerves. Baclofen is known to cause a block in the functioning of this neurotransmitter. In this way, the muscle contractions and relaxations are being controlled by this drug.

Onset Of Action:

The oral administration of drugs shows the effects only after two weeks of usage in children. In adults, bolus injections are used. Bolus injections have one single dosage of the drug in large quantities. Intrathecal injection of bolus will start its action within 30 minutes to 60 minutes. The effect may last up to eight hours.

Habit-Forming:

Long term usage of these drugs is not recommended. The dosage should be strictly followed as instructed by the doctor. Repeated usage of these drugs can cause many serious side effects.

Expiry Date:

The expiry date will be printed on the back of the pack. Avoid taking the medicine Baclofen after it expires.

What Is the Dosage of Baclofen?

The dosage of Baclofen will be decided by your doctor, depending on your medical conditions. Follow the correct dosage and stick to the regular timing you take the drug. The dosage of the drug is adjusted according to the purpose for which it is given.

Dosage of Baclofen

Baclofen Dosage for Children:

Baclofen Dosage for Children

Baclofen Dosage for Children

How to Use Baclofen?

Baclofen comes as a tablet for oral consumption. Follow the directions given by your doctor. You should ask your doctor to advise whether the medication should be consumed before or after the food. The intake of this drug is restricted to three times a day in order to reduce the risk of side effects. The doctor will instruct you to start with the mild dose and gradually move to higher doses.

Missed Dose:

If you happen to miss Baclofen's dose, take it as quickly as possible when you remember. If it is time for the next dose, then try to skip the missed dose and continue the next dosage regularly. Do not try to double the dosage for compensation. If you stopped taking the dose for a very long time, you should get a doctor's recommendation before continuing the medications again.

What Are the Drug Warnings and Precautions?

There are a few things that need to be considered before taking this tablet, and tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Pregnancy - Taking antispasmodics like Baclofen is not recommended during the pregnancy period. You should consult your doctor before taking these medicines.

  • Breastfeeding - These drugs are considered safe during the period of breastfeeding. However, you should limit the dosage level in order to prevent unnecessary complications. If Baclofen is given at lower levels, then it would not cause any adverse effects.

  • Diabetes - This drug will not affect levels of sugar in the blood of a diabetic patient. You should consult your doctor if you find any abnormal symptoms.

  • Heart Problems - Baclofen should be taken only if your doctor asks you to take these medications. You need proper dosage recommendations from your cardiologist.

  • Psychiatric Problems - Baclofen is not safe for patients who are having severe psychiatric problems. However, this drug is known to improve the mood in patients with mood disorders.

  • Kidney Problems - You should get recommendations from your doctor if you have health problems related to the kidney. Consuming these drugs without the advice of the doctor can cause an adverse effect on your health condition.

  • Liver Diseases - This drug is safe for patients with liver diseases. Patients with liver cirrhosis also use it. It is good to ask your doctor's advice before usage of the medication.

  • Driving or Operating Heavy Machinery - This drug has a side effect of dizziness. It is not recommended for people who are driving or working with heavy machinery. If that is your occupation, then ask your doctor to provide alternate medications.

  • Allergy - If you are already having some allergic issues, this drug is not suitable.

  • Polycystic Ovarian Disease - If the patient is suffering from polycystic ovarian disease, Baclofen is known to aggravate the ovarian cyst's severity. You should discuss it with your gynecologist before consuming it.

Precautions:

Inform the doctor if you develop vision problems or continuous dizziness. Inform any unusual side effects to a doctor. Explain your medical histories clearly to your doctor.

It is not advisable to take other medications with Baclofen until your doctor or pharmacist approves that these are compatible.

Baclofen Side Effects:

The side effects of Baclofen can be classified into two stages:

  • Side Effects Requiring Immediate Medical Attention:

Consult with a doctor immediately once you experience the below signs while consuming Baclofen, they are:

  • Chest pain.

  • Bloody or dark urine.

  • Mood changes or mental depression.

  • Fainting.

  • Skin rash or itching.

  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there.

  • Ringing or buzzing in the ears.

Immediate emergency help is required if you experience the below signs while consuming Baclofen, they are:

  • Convulsions.

  • Blurred vision.

  • Trouble or difficulty in breathing.

  • Dizziness.

  • Lightheadedness.

  • Loss of strength or energy.

  • Pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin.

  • Muscle weakness or pain.

  • Unusually slow or troubled breathing.

  • Unusual weak feeling.

  • Sleepiness or unusual drowsiness.

  • Side Effects Not Requiring Immediate Medical Attention:

Specific side effects might not require medical attention while consuming Baclofen. Your body will adjust to Baclofen, and these side effects will vanish during treatment. Your doctor or healthcare advisor will also recommend some ways to prevent the side effects caused by Baclofen. The side effects which does not require medical attention are:

  • Constipation.

  • Confusion.

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness when getting up suddenly from a sitting or lying position.

  • Nausea.

  • Headache.

  • Increased need to urinate.

  • Sweating.

  • Passing urine more often.

  • Unusual weakness or tiredness.

  • Trouble sleeping.

  • Loss of appetite.

  • Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands.

  • Swelling of the ankles.

What Are the Interactions of Baclofen?

All drugs tend to interact with some or other foods and medicines. The common interactions Baclofen are:

With Medicine:

  • Amphetamine.

  • Ibuprofen.

  • Zolpidem.

  • Diphenhydramine.

  • Duloxetine.

  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.

  • Cyclobenzaprine.

  • Methadone.

  • Naproxen.

  • Gabapentin.

  • Acetaminophen.

  • Oxycodone.

  • Acetaminophen.

  • Prednisone.

  • Topiramate.

  • Tramadol.

  • Acetaminophen.

  • Diazepam.

  • Alprazolam.

  • Ondansetron.

  • Sertraline.

  • Cetirizine.

With Disease:

What Are the Common Brand or Trade Name For Baclofen?

The common brand or trade name of Baclofen are:

  • Tablet Bacfen 5 mg.

  • Tablet Bacmax 10 mg.

  • Tablet Liofen 10 mg.

  • Tablet Lioresal 25 mg.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.

Is Baclofen an Analgesic?

Baclofen is a drug used in the treatment of pain and muscle spasms (stiffness or tightness of the muscles) due to various conditions such as spinal cord diseases and injuries, multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis (inflammation of a section of the spinal cord), motor neuron diseases, syringomyelia (fluid filled cyst), etc.

2.

Does Baclofen Calm the Mind?

Baclofen relieves muscle spasms by acting on the central nervous system and calms down the overactive nerves in the spinal cord, thus reducing pain and improving muscle movement. It has also been known to reduce anxiety in alcoholic patients and be helpful in post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and depression. 

3.

Can Baclofen Induce Sleep?

Several studies have suggested that Baclofen can be used to treat sleep-related disorders, which may improve sleep quality. Baclofen may cause drowsiness, vision problems, and unsteadiness. Hence patients must not drive or operate heavy machinery after taking Baclofen.

4.

Can Baclofen Cause Hypertension?

One of the rare side effects of Baclofen is that it lowers blood pressure and causes trouble breathing at recommended doses. However, animal studies suggest that higher doses of Baclofen can cause a significant and prolonged increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and arterial dilatation.

5.

What Should Be Avoided While Taking Baclofen?

Baclofen may interact with alcohol and can cause dizziness, confusion, headache, and coordination problems. Hence alcohol must be avoided. Opioid analgesics, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or other muscle relaxants must not be taken with Baclofen as it can reduce breathing and slow down the brain, leading to severe complications.

6.

Can Baclofen Be Taken Daily?

Baclofen must be taken as directed by the doctor. It is restricted three times a day (six to eight hours apart) because of the risk of side effects. Baclofen must be taken only sometimes or longer than prescribed. It starts with a minimal dose of 5 mg (milligram) and gradually increases.

7.

Does Baclofen Have an Effect on the Brain?

Baclofen is a prescription medicine and belongs to the group of antispasmodic drugs. It acts on the central nervous system, releases neurotransmitters (GABA), and stimulates the inhibitory neuron signals or nerve impulses in the spine, thus relieving spasticity and contraction of the muscles.

8.

Can Baclofen Be Taken at the Night?

Baclofen can benefit some patients at night because it reduces pain and discomfort, relaxes the muscles, and relieves the spasm, thus improving sleep. It is also preferred during the night as during the day, and it can cause dizziness or lightheadedness, which may affect daily activities.

9.

Does Baclofen Have Any Effect on the Heart?

When taken in high doses, Baclofen can cause an increase in arterial blood pressure and heart rate. It can cause chest pain, severe hemodynamic changes, and conduction problems such as bradycardia or premature atrial contractions. Intrathecal Baclofen can cause hypotension or may reduce cardiac output.

10.

What Is the Duration of Action of Baclofen?

Baclofen gets rapidly absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract following an oral administration, and the duration of action is around 10 to 20 hours, with a half-life of approximately two to four hours. Following an intrathecal administration of a single dose of Baclofen, the onset of action is within an hour, with the peak effect for four hours.

11.

Does Baclofen Weaken the Muscles?

When taken at prescribed doses, Baclofen relaxes the muscles and relieves pain, muscle cramps, and muscle stiffness. However, on chronic or long-term use, Baclofen can be habit-forming, increasing fatigue, confusion, and instability and reducing muscle strength.
Dr. Lochana .k
Dr. Lochana .k

Dentistry

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