Baclofen is an effective therapy for treating spasticity related to multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and other spinal cord pathologies. In multiple sclerosis, long-term or chronic muscle stiffness can occur, especially in conditions where there has been damage to the nerves which supply these muscles. In such cases, the muscles shorten and contract tightly and thus become stiff and harder to use. This condition is called muscle spasticity. Baclofen works on relaxing the muscles, which gradually reduces the pain and discomfort.
Baclofen is an agonist for gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors on pre and postsynaptic neurons in the nervous systems- both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. It inhibits the transmission of both the mono and polysynaptic reflexes at the spinal cord site and reduces spasticity. (1)
The administration of Baclofen should be under medical guidance only. The dosage commences with usually half a tablet thrice daily and the further course to be taken as prescribed by the doctor. Children are typically given liquid medicine. Baclofen should be taken with a snack or immediately after a meal.
There are three ways baclofen can be administered:
- As a cream, where it is absorbed through the skin
- As oral tablets
- As injections directly into the spinal fluid (intrathecally), using an implanted pump
Precautions & Side Effects
Baclofen therapy requires some precautions as side effects as drowsiness and eyesight problems are common during treatment. Any symptomatic weakness in the muscles needs medical attention. While under medication with Baclofen, consumption of alcohol should be avoided. It should not be taken during any surgery or dental procedures. Treatment with Baclofen is usually long term, so a sudden stopping of the treatment may cause withdrawal symptoms, which the doctor should monitor.
Conditions in which Baclofen should be avoided are:
- Any prevalence of stomach ulcer
- Pregnancy or lactation
- Kidney or liver problems, or an overactive bladder
- In case of a history of stroke or narrowing of blood vessels to the brain
- Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease or diabetes
- Any mental health problems
- Problem with drug or alcohol misuse
- Any allergic reaction to a medicine
Some adequate off-label conditions where Baclofen is alcoholism, alcohol withdrawal, acid reflux, cerebral palsy, and hiccups. (3)
Some side effects observed are nausea, upset stomach, headache, mobility problems, eyesight problems, breathing difficulty, sleep disorder, changes in mood, frequent urination, feeling faint, and rash. As the body adjusts to the new medication, these symptoms may be frequent. (2)
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Shubham Pharmachem’s blog posts have been written with the information gathered from approved medical journals and websites online. Our research and technical teams strive to provide relevant information through such articles. We strongly advise readers to not consume or administer any medication without prior consultation with their doctor.