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- What's the Difference Between Gabapentin and Baclofen?
- What Are Gabapentin and Baclofen?
- What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin and Baclofen?
- What Is the Dosage of Gabapentin vs. Baclofen?
- What Drugs Interact with Gabapentin and Baclofen?
- Are Gabapentin and Baclofen Safe to Take While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
What's the Difference Between Gabapentin and Baclofen?
- Gabapentin and baclofen are used off-label to treat nerve pain (neuralgia).
- Gabapentin is an anti-seizure (anticonvulsant) medication used to prevent seizures and to treat post-herpetic neuralgia, the pain that follows an episode of shingles.
- Baclofen is a muscle relaxant used to treat skeletal muscle spasms, muscle clonus, rigidity, and pain caused by disorders such as multiple sclerosis. It is also injected into the spinal cord for management of severe spasticity.
- Brand names for gabapentin include Neurontin, Horizant, and Gralise.
- Brand names for baclofen include Gablofen and Lioresal.
- Side effects of gabapentin and baclofen that are similar include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, or vomiting.
- Side effects of gabapentin that are different from baclofen include sleepiness, loss of control of bodily movements, fatigue, fluid retention (edema), hostility, difficulty speaking, jerky movements, unusual eye movements, double vision, tremors, memory loss, unsteadiness, weight gain, joint pain, motion sickness, blurred vision, or viral infection.
- Side effects of baclofen that are different from gabapentin include weakness, headache, seizures, low blood pressure, constipation, confusion, respiratory depression, inability to sleep, and increased urinary frequency or urinary retention.
- Abrupt discontinuation of oral baclofen may cause withdrawal symptoms including 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.
What Are Gabapentin and Baclofen?
Gabapentin is an anti-seizure (anticonvulsant) drug that is used for preventing seizures and for treating post-herpetic neuralgia, the pain that follows an episode of shingles. Other off-label uses for gabapentin include anxiety, alcohol withdrawal, cocaine withdrawal, hiccups, restless leg syndrome, hyperhidrosis, headaches, diabetic neuropathy, hot flashes, and fibromyalgia.
Baclofen is a skeletal muscle relaxer. It is believed that baclofen acts like the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and blocks the activity of nerves within the part of the brain that controls the contraction and relaxation of skeletal muscle. Baclofen is used for treating skeletal muscle spasms, muscle clonus, rigidity, and pain caused by disorders such as multiple sclerosis. It is also injected into the spinal cord for management of severe spasticity.
What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin and Baclofen?
The most common side effects of gabapentin are:
- Fluid retention (edema)
- Difficulty speaking
- Jerky movements
- Unusual eye movements
- Double vision
- Memory loss
Other adverse effects and serious side effects associated with gabapentin include:
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
- Motion sickness
- Blurred vision
- Viral infection
Antiepileptic medications have been associated with an increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior. Anyone considering the use of antiepileptic drugs must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior.
Common side effects of baclofen are:
- low blood pressure,
- respiratory depression,
- inability to sleep,
- and increased urinary frequency or urinary retention.
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.
What Is the Dosage of Gabapentin vs. Baclofen?
Gabapentin is available as:
- Capsules: 100, 300, and 400 mg.
- Tablets: 100, 300, 400, 600, and 800 mg.
- Solution: 250 mg/5 ml
Dosage for postherpetic neuralgia and seizures.
- The recommended dose for postherpetic neuralgia is 1800 mg daily in 3 divided doses (Neurontin) or 1800 mg once daily (Gralise). Gralise is not interchangeable with other gabapentin products.
- Seizures are treated with 900-1800 mg/daily in 3 divided doses (Neurontin). Withdrawal of treatment should occur slowly over a week.
Gabapentin may be taken with or without food.
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.
What Drugs Interact with Gabapentin and Baclofen?
Antacids reduce the concentration of gabapentin in blood. Therefore, gabapentin should be administered 2 hours or more after taking antacids.
Morphine significantly increases blood concentrations of gabapentin and may increase central nervous system-related adverse events associated with gabapentin.
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.
Because baclofen can increase blood sugar, doses of antidiabetic drugs may need to be adjusted when baclofen is begun.
Are Gabapentin and Baclofen Safe to Take While Pregnant or Breastfeeding?
Doctors do not know the safety of gabapentin during pregnancy. Gabapentin is secreted in human breast milk; therefore, if you are pregnant you should only use this medication if the benefits outweigh the unknown risk to the fetus.
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.
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Gabapentin and baclofen are used off-label to treat nerve pain (neuralgia). Gabapentin is also an anti-seizure medication and treats nerve pain from shingles. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant used to treat pain caused by disorders such as multiple sclerosis. It is also injected into the spinal cord for management of severe spasticity.
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Occipital Neuralgia (Headache)
Occipital neuralgia is a type of headache that involves inflammation or irritation of occipital nerves. Signs and symptoms include a stabbing and throbbing head pain, and an aching pain in the upper back of the head and neck. Potential causes include infection, irritation, or trauma of the occipital nerves. This type of headache is diagnosed by physical examination findings and imaging tests. Treatment involves a multidisciplinary approach that includes massage, rest, physical therapy, heat, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Invasive procedures and even surgery may be considered if first-line treatments fail to bring relief from the chronic pain of this type of headache.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person, and can last for days to months without periods of remission. Symptoms of MS include sexual problems and problems with the bowel, bladder, eyes, muscles, speech, swallowing, brain, and nervous system. The early symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis usually start between age 20 and 40. MS in children, teens, and those over age 40 is rare. Treatment options for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to manage MS symptoms.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Life Expectancy
Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage results in symptoms that may include numbness, weakness, vertigo, paralysis, and involuntary muscle contractions. Different forms of MS can follow variable courses from relatively benign to life-threatening. MS is treated with disease-modifying therapies. Some MS symptoms can be treated with medications.
Seizures Symptoms and Types
Seizures are divided into two categories: generalized and partial. Generalized seizures are produced by electrical impulses from throughout the brain, while partial seizures are produced by electrical impulses in a small part of the brain. Seizure symptoms include unconsciousness, convulsions, and muscle rigidity.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
Pain that originates in the face is referred to as trigeminal neuralgia. This pain may be caused by: an injury, an infection in the face, a nerve disorder, or it can occur for no known reason. Trigeminal neuralgia can be treated with antiseizure medications. Some antidepressant drugs also have significant pain relieving effects.
Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is a painful complication of shingles. Symptoms include severe pain, itchy skin, and possible weakness or paralysis of the area. There is no treatment for postherpetic neuralgia that is effective for all patients.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which the person has seizures. There are two kinds of seizures, focal and generalized. There are many causes of epilepsy. Treatment of epilepsy (seizures) depends upon the cause and type of seizures experienced.
Migraines and Seizures (Symptoms, Auras, Medication)
Migraines are a type of headache and seizures are the main symptom of epilepsy. Migraine headaches and seizures are two different neurological problems that have similar signs, symptoms, and auras, for example, sensitivity to light (photophobia) and sound, irritability, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms unique to migraine and migraine auras are water retention, problems sleeping, appetite changes, and talkativeness. Symptoms unique to seizure and seizures auras are depression, a feeling of heaviness, a feeling that a seizure is approaching, and depression. Many of the symptoms of migraine and seizures are the same, however, seizures do not cause migraines; however, people who have seizures are twice as likely to have migraines and vice-versa. People who have migraines are twice as likely to have seizures, and people with seizures are twice as likely to have migraines; however, one condition does not cause the other.
Is MS Contagious? (Multiple Sclerosis)
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a degenerative disease of the covering around the nerves in the central nervous system (CNS). Researchers and doctors don't know the exact cause, but many theorize that it may be due to environmental triggers, an autoimmune disease, and viruses (infections). Symptoms of MS include vision changes, paralysis, vertigo, heat intolerance, slurred speech, sexual dysfunction, and urinary incontinence (the inability to urinate). There's no vaccine or cure for MS, but the progression and symptoms of the disease can be treated.
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