Skelaxin vs. Baclofen

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Skelaxin vs. Baclofen

What are Skelaxin vs. baclofen

Skelaxin (metaxalone) is an oral drug that relaxes skeletal muscle, the muscles that control movement of the body. Skelaxin is prescribed as an adjunct to physical therapy for the treatment of short-term painful muscle and skeletal conditions.

Baclofen is a medication that relaxes skeletal muscles. Baclofen is prescribed for the treatment of spasms of skeletal muscles, muscle rigidity, muscle clonus, and pain caused by disorders like multiple sclerosis. Chemically, baclofen is related to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a naturally occurring neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA released by some nerves causes the activity of other nerves to decrease. It is thought baclofen acts like GABA and blocks the activity of nerves within the part of the brain that controls the contraction and relaxation of skeletal muscle.

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What are the side effects of Skelaxin and baclofen?

Skelaxin

The most common side effects with metaxalone are:

Other important, but less common, side effects include:

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.

What is the dosage for Skelaxin vs. baclofen?

Skelaxin

Metaxalone usually is taken at a dose of 800 mg, three or four times daily. Benefits are seen within one hour of ingestion. Food high in fat content increases the absorption of metaxalone.

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.

What drugs interact with Skelaxin and baclofen?

Skelaxin

No important drug interactions have been described with metaxalone. Metaxalone may increase the sedative effects of alcohol and drugs that cause sedation, for example, benzodiazepines (Valium), antidepressants, opioids (morphine).

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.

Are Skelexin and baclofen safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Skelaxin

Metaxalone has not been adequately studied in pregnant women.

It is not known whether metaxalone is excreted in breast milk. Safety for use in the nursing mother has not been established.

Baclofen

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.

REFERENCE:

FDA Prescribing Information

Summary

Skelaxin (metaxalone) and baclofen are skeletal muscle relaxants. A main difference is that Skelaxin is used mostly for short-term painful muscle and skeletal conditions, while baclofen may be used long-term for spasms of skeletal muscles, muscle rigidity, muscle clonus, and pain caused by disorders like multiple sclerosis.

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Reviewed on 1/5/2018
References
REFERENCE:

FDA Prescribing Information

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