baclofen, Gablofen, Lioresal

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The Effects of Multiple Sclerosis

What is baclofen, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

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.

What brand names are available for baclofen?

Gablofen, Lioresal

Is baclofen available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for baclofen?

Yes

What are the side effects of baclofen?

Common side effects of baclofen are:

Abrupt discontinuation of oral baclofen may cause seizures and hallucinations. Abrupt discontinuation of intrathecal baclofen may result in:

  • high fever,
  • rebound spasticity,
  • muscle rigidity, and
  • rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) that can progress to failure of several organs, including the kidney, and even death.

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What is the dosage for baclofen?

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

Which drugs or supplements interact with baclofen?

Use of baclofen with other drugs that also depress the function of nerves may lead to additional reduction in brain function.

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

Use of baclofen and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (for example, phenelzine [Nardil], tranylcypromine or [Parnate]) can result in greater depression of brain function as well as low blood pressure.

Because baclofen can increase blood sugar, doses of antidiabetic drugs may need to be adjusted when baclofen is begun.

Is baclofen safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

The use of baclofen by pregnant women has not been evaluated.

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?

What preparations of baclofen are available?

Tablets: 10 and 20 mg. Intrathecal: 0.05 mg/ml, 0.5 mg/ml, 1 MG/ML, 2 mg/ml

How should I keep baclofen stored?

Baclofen should be stored between 15 C (59 F) and 30 C (86 F).

Reference:

FDA Prescribing Information

AHFS Drug Information for baclofen

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Summary

Baclofen, (Gablofen, Lioresal, [Kemstro has been discontinued]) is a medication prescribed for the treatment of spasms of skeletal muscles, muscle rigidity, muscle clonus, and pain caused by disorders like multiple sclerosis. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.

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See more info: baclofen on RxList
Reviewed on 6/8/2015
References
Reference:

FDA Prescribing Information

AHFS Drug Information for baclofen

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