GENERIC NAME: baclofen
BRAND NAME: Gablofen, Lioresal
DISCONTINUED BRAND: Kemstro
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Baclofen is an oral and injectable medication that relaxes skeletal muscles, the muscles that move the skeleton (and also called striated muscle). Chemically, baclofen is related to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that nerves use to communicate with one another. GABA released by some nerves causes the activity of other nerves to decrease. It is believed that baclofen, acting like GABA, blocks the activity of nerves within the part of the brain that controls the contraction and relaxation of skeletal muscle. Baclofen was approved by the FDA in November 1977.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Baclofen is used for treating spasm of skeletal muscles, muscle clonus, rigidity, and pain caused by disorders such as multiple sclerosis. It is also injected into the spinal cord (intrathecal) for management of severe spasticity.
SIDE EFFECTS: Common side effects of baclofen are:
- low blood pressure,
- respiratory depression,
- inability to sleep,
- and increased urinary frequency or urinary retention.
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