Baclofen is a ‘muscle relaxant’ used to relieve excessive tension in muscles (spasms), treats diseases of the brain, spinal cord, or nerves. It is also used in topical creams to help relieve pain.
Uses of Baclofen
- Relief from pain due to tension in muscles involving the nerves due to disorders of spinal cord such as damage to nerve fibers (multiple sclerosis), tumors (cancers) of the spinal cord, cysts of the spinal cord (syringomyelia), infection of spinal cord (transverse myelitis), movement disorders (motor neuron disease) or injury or compression of the spinal cord.Read less
- Relief of pain and tension of the muscles (spasms) due to complications of the brain such as brain stroke, a genetic disorder affecting movement and muscle tone (cerebral palsy), infections of the layers of the brain (meningitis) or head injury.Read less
Contraindications of Baclofen
When should one not use Baclofen
- Allergy to Baclofen or any other components of the medicine
- Stomach ulcers
Side effects of Baclofen
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Drowsiness, feeling sleepy
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Dry mouth
- Headache, light-headedness, fatigue, excessive weakness, unsteadiness, confusion, depression, mood changes, feeling unreal things (hallucinations)
- Low blood pressure (fainting)
- Stomach upset, vomiting, loose motions or constipation, sleeplessness
- Skin rashes, increased sweating, eye and vision problems
- Difficulty in passing urine
Precautions and Warnings of Baclofen
Can I take Baclofen during pregnancy?
Baclofen must be used in pregnancy only if necessary, and no other options are available. It has the potential to harm the baby, though adequate data is not available.
Can I take Baclofen while breastfeeding?
Baclofen is secreted in breast milk in tiny amounts and is advised to use while breast-feeding if it cannot be substituted.
Can I drive if I have consumed Baclofen?
You can drive while taking Baclofen, but it is safe not to drive if you experience side effects such as drowsiness, feeling sleepy, or vision problems.
Can I consume alcohol with Baclofen?
Alcohol causes depressive effects on the brain, and one should avoid it along with Baclofen.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- Liver, kidney, lung or mental disorders
- Diabetes, brain stroke, seizures
- Difficulty in urination
- High blood pressure
- Parkinson’s disease (a brain disease causing tremors and unintentional movements)
Mode of Action of Baclofen
How Does It Work?
Baclofen works by blocking the activity of nerves that cause pain in the brain and spinal cord.
Interactions of Baclofen
Interactions with other medicines
- Muscle relaxants (Tizanidine)
- Medicines used to treat mood disorders and anti-depressants (Lithium, Amitryptiline, Temazepam), high blood pressure (Diltiazem), Parkinson's diseases (Levodopa, Carbidopa), pain killers
- Medicines which slow down the nervous system such as opiates for pain relief (Morphine, Fentanyl), anti-allergics (Promethazine), anti-seizure medications (Carbamazepine)
Interactions with food items
Baclofen should be preferred with food or milk.
Dosage of Baclofen
Unintentional overdose with Baclofen may not be harmful. But consult a doctor if you experience any symptoms like confusion, reduced consciousness, seizures, abnormal heartbeats, low muscle strength, etc.
Missed a Dose
Take the next dose at the usual time. Do not take extra medicine or double dose to compensate for the missed dose.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What else should I know before taking Baclofen?
A: Baclofen should not be used in all patients. People suffering a handicap (unable to move or perform a function) due to muscle tension and pain (spasm) will benefit the most from this medicine. Baclofen is not suitable for children below 33kg of weight. Baclofen must be taken with food or meal, preferably at night-time to benefit from painful night cramps. If you are performing any tasks such as exercise, walking, etc., Baclofen should be taken an hour before the task.
Q: Can I use Baclofen as a painkiller to relieve any pain?
- Baclofen is a muscle relaxant and not a pain killer. It relieves pain only in conditions that are generated due to nerve injury or involvement.
- It helps to reduce tension and stiffness of muscles inducing pain. Hence Baclofen should be used in painful conditions due to a problem in the brain or spinal cord and under medical supervision. Do not self-medicate with Baclofen.Read less
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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