- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & 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?
Gabapentin side effects
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:
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.
Baclofen side effects
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:
Latest Chronic Pain News
Daily Health News
What is the dosage of gabapentin vs. baclofen?
Dosage for Postherpetic Neuralgia
- In adults with postherpetic neuralgia, gabapentin may be initiated on Day 1 as a single 300 mg dose, on Day 2 as 600 mg/day (300 mg two times a day), and on Day 3 as 900 mg/day (300 mg three times a day).
Dosage for Epilepsy with Partial Onset Seizures
Patients 12 Years Of Age And Above
- The starting dose is 300 mg three times a day. The recommended maintenance dose of gabapentin is 300 mg to 600 mg three times a day. Dosages up to 2400 mg/day have been well tolerated in long-term clinical studies.
Pediatric Patients Age 3 To 11 Years
- The starting dose range is 10 mg/kg/day to 15 mg/kg/day, given in three divided doses, and the recommended maintenance dose reached by upward titration over a period of approximately 3 days.
Dosage Adjustment in Patients with Renal Impairment
- Dosage adjustment in patients 12 years of age and older with renal impairment or undergoing hemodialysis varies depending on the person's creatinine clearance.
- The use of gabapentin in patients less than 12 years of age with compromised renal function has not been studied.
Dosage in Elderly
- Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection, and dose should be adjusted based on creatinine clearance values in these patients.
- Administer gabapentin orally with or without food.
- Gabapentin capsules should be swallowed whole with water.
- Inform patients that, should they divide the scored 600 mg or 800 mg gabapentin tablet in order to administer a half-tablet, they should take the unused half-tablet as the next dose. Half-tablets not used within 28 days of dividing the scored tablet should be discarded.
- If the gabapentin dose is reduced, discontinued, or substituted with an alternative medication, this should be done gradually over a minimum of 1 week (a longer period may be needed at the discretion of the prescriber).
The determination of optimal dosage requires individual titration. Start therapy at a low dosage and increase gradually until optimum effect is achieved (usually between 40-80 mg daily).
The following dosage titration schedule is suggested:
|5 mg t.i.d. for 3 days|
|10 mg t.i.d. for 3 days|
|15 mg t.i.d. for 3 days|
|20 mg t.i.d. for 3 days|
Thereafter additional increases may be necessary but the total daily dose should not exceed a maximum of 80 mg daily (20 mg q.i.d.).
The lowest dose compatible with an optimal response is recommended. If benefits are not evident after a reasonable trial period, patients should be slowly withdrawn from the drug.
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.
- 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.
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.
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
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.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Rosacea, Acne, Shingles, Covid-19 Rashes: Common Adult Skin Diseases
Learn to spot and treat skin conditions commonly found in adults such as acne, Covid-19 rashes, eczema, shingles, psoriasis,...
What Causes Shingles?
Shingles occurs when the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox, re-emerges due to a weakened immune...
Shingles: Myths and Facts About the Shingles Virus
There are some common misconceptions about this viral illness and the uncomfortable rash it can cause. Here's a guide through the...
Diabetes Nerve Pain: Improving Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy
Learn how to cope with the symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathy through pain management exercises. Find relief for diabetic...
Nerve Pain: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options
Learn about nerve pain symptoms, causes, and treatment options. Discover medications and natural remedies to relieve nerve pain.
Shingles Quiz: Symptoms, Vaccine & Pictures
Shingles falls within a well-known family of viruses that cause itching, burning, blisters, and pain. Take the Shingles Quiz to...
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Restless leg syndrome (RLS), an annoying, sometimes painful disorder that keeps millions of people awake at night. What are the...
Picture of Shingles
An acute infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus as causes chickenpox. See a picture of Shingles and learn...
Picture of Nerve Fibers and Myelin Attack in MS
In multiple sclerosis, an agent such as a virus or foreign antigen, in theory, may alter or interact with the immune system so...
Restless Legs Syndrome: 16 Natural Remedies and Treatment for RLS
Restless legs syndrome treatment includes natural remedies that you can implement at home. Use exercise, sleep hygiene, and...
Related Disease Conditions
Can You Have a Mild Case of Shingles?
The severity of shingles depends on various factors, such as age of the patient, general health condition of the patient, and the part of the body where shingles develops.
Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Shingles symptoms and signs include skin burning, numbness, and tingling along with a painful red, blistering rash. Shingles is contagious until all of the blisters have crusted over.
Shingles, or herpes zoster, is a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus. Other shingles symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Treatment focuses on pain management and shortening the duration of the illness with antiviral medications.
What Triggers a Shingles Outbreak?
Shingles occur when the varicella-zoster virus, the same virus responsible for chickenpox, reactivates in the body, usually due to a weakened immune system. Learn about the symptoms of shingles and how you can treat them.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common cause for painful legs that typically eases with motion, and becomes worse and more noticeable at rest. This characteristic nighttime worsening can frequently lead to insomnia. Treatment of the symptoms of restless leg syndrome is generally with medication as well as treating any underlying condition causing restless leg syndrome.
Can You Get Shingles After Being Vaccinated?
Shingles is a viral infection. It presents with a rash followed by an episode of intense pain in the infected area. This is caused by the virus called varicella zoster. This virus also causes chickenpox. If a child has had chickenpox, the virus may not completely go away, lie dormant in the body and come back years later as shingles. Older individuals and immunocompromised individuals are more likely to develop shingles.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
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.
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.
What Does a Shingles Rash Look Like at First?
The typical shingles red rash or blisters occur after pain, itching, and tingling. They are usually limited to one side of the face and body.
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.
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.
Second Source article from Government
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.
What Is the Difference Between a Seizure and a Convulsion?
Learn what the main difference between a seizure and a convulsion is, and how to recognize and treat either condition.
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.
How Long Is Shingles Contagious?
Shingles is contagious from the time the blisters are oozing until the time the blisters have scabbed.
What Happens When You Get Shingles When Pregnant?
Becoming infected with chickenpox during pregnancy could cause birth defects in your unborn child. Likewise, shingles could also cause problems for your unborn child. If you are pregnant and haven't had chickenpox, avoid exposure to infected people. Zostavax, the shingles vaccine, can reduce the incidence of shingles by half. Women should wait at least three months after receiving the vaccine before trying to get pregnant.
What's the Difference Between Chickenpox and Shingles?
Learn about the differences between chickenpox and shingles and how these two diseases are connected.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and Treatments
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.
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.
Seizure vs. Seizure Disorders: What's the Difference?
Seizures and seizure disorders are not the same medical problems. A seizure happens when the electrical activity in the brain is uncontrolled. There are about 40 different types of seizure disorders, in which epilepsy is one. Symptoms depend on the type of disorder, but can include loss of consciousness, uncontrolled twitching or shaking of one side, or the entire body.
Can the Vagus Nerve Cause Seizures?
The vagus nerve is an important pathway to the brain in addition to helping to control seizures. Stimulation of the vagus nerve leads to the discharge of electrical energy into a wide area of the brain, disturbing the abnormal brain activity that causes seizures. The vagus nerve is used to treat seizures that do not respond to medications.
How Do You Get Rid of Restless Leg Syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome is an often uncontrollable urge to twitch and move your legs – especially when sitting or lying down. It isn’t curable and the cause is unclear, but it’s a neurological problem that researchers theorize may result from a lack of iron in the brain or a physiological in processing and using iron.
What Is a Cluster Seizure?
Cluster seizures are episodes of increased seizure activity in which two or more seizures occur in 24 hours. Multiple seizures occur one after the other typically with a recovery period between each seizure and are different from a person’s usual seizure pattern.
What Causes You to Get Shingles?
Shingles (herpes zoster) is caused by varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. Sometimes, in patients with a history of chickenpox, the virus may live in the nervous system for years in an inactive form, and then reactivate as shingles.
How Long Is Shingles Contagious and How Is It Treated?
Learn what medical treatments can ease your shingles symptoms and help you manage this condition.
What Are the Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome?
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes people to compulsively move their legs, especially when they are at rest. Genetics, chronic illness, lifestyle, medications, and pregnancy may cause RLS.
Can You Get Shingles If You Have Had Chickenpox?
Yes, you can get shingles if you have had chickenpox in the past. Learn about risk factors, symptoms, and who should get the Shingrix vaccine.
Epilepsy and Seizures: How to Treat?
A seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder where brain activities are abnormal, causing more than one or recurrent episodes of seizures. Most cases of seizures can be managed conservatively with medication and supportive treatments.
How Do You Stop Multiple Seizures?
Seizures are a medical emergency. Whether the seizure is a first-time onset or a recurring episode, it is advisable to dial 911 and call for help. A group of drugs called benzodiazepines is usually administered to stop multiple seizures.
How Do Seizures Differ From Epilepsy and Convulsion?
You can have a seizure without epilepsy, but you can’t have epilepsy without seizures. Convulsions are a type of seizure that causes involuntary shaking.
What Are the Different Types of Seizures?
A seizure is a sudden change in the brain's normal electrical activity. During a seizure, brain cells fire uncontrollably than their normal rate, temporarily affecting the way a person behaves, moves, thinks, or feels. Recurrent seizures are called epilepsy. Seizures are usually categorized into three types depending on their onset.
What Triggers Tonic Seizures?
Tonic seizures may result from a variety of health conditions, such as brain tumors and head injuries. Learn all the potential triggers for epilepsy now.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster) FAQs
- Restless Leg Syndrome RLS FAQs
- Restless Leg Syndrome: What Is Restless Leg Syndrome?
- Brain Cancer Symptoms: Headaches and Seizures
- Home Remedies for Shingles
- Shingles Pain
- Shingles: A Painful Rash -- Is It Shingles?
- Can the Chicken Pox Vaccine Cause Shingles?
- What Condition Causes Severe Facial Nerve Pain?
- Does the Rebuilder Treatment System Treat Nerve Pain (Neuropathy)?
- Can Stress Cause Shingles?
- Shingles Contagious Period and Diagnosis
- Shingles Prevention: Who Should Get the Vaccine?
- Shingles During Pregnancy
- Shingles Treatment
- Shingles Symptoms and Signs
- Shingles Causes
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Pain Management Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.