Baclofen

Baclofen is a muscle relaxer that can help relieve spasms, cramps or tightness that can cause the patient discomfort.

Baclofen is used on the spinal cord nerves to help reduce the severity of spasms or the effects of spinal cord diseases. This may help relieve pain and improve muscle movement in the body. Baclofen can help manage symptoms of spinal or muscle conditions but it cannot be used to cure them. Baclofen is often used alongside with other treatments or therapy to help relieve discomfort and make therapeutic exercise easier to manage when appropriate. Once Baclofen has taken the proper effect on your body, you will need to gradually decrease your dosing to return your body to its regular state. This is especially important for those who have taken Baclofen for a long period of time.

Indications and Usage

Baclofen is sold under the brand name Lioresal, which may be packaged as Lioresal Intrathecal or Lioresal Double Strength. This medication is used to help relax certain muscles in the body to help relieve spasms, cramping, tightness, multiple sclerosis or injuries to the spine. This medication comes as a tablet that is to be taken orally three times a day in even intervals. Try to take your medication around the same time every day to help ensure that your medication schedule remains as even as possible. It is likely that your symptoms will disappear while using Baclofen, but you should not stop taking your medication unless given the express instruction to do so by your doctor.

Baclofen Dosage

Dosing for Baclofen will either be given based on an individual dosing schedule or a titration schedule. Those on an individual dosing schedule are usually started on 40 mg of Baclofen per day, which is increased as necessary to help manage your condition effectively. Doses in this case should not exceed 80 mg per day. Those using a titration schedule will be started on 5 mg for three days, which will be increased to 10 mg for another three days, then 15 mg for three days and finally 20 mg for three days. If doses beyond this point are deemed necessary they should not be increased beyond 80 mg per day.

Those who are suffering from Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy or the after effects of a stroke should not take Baclofen. This medication is not intended to be used to treat these disorders and may not be safe for use in these individuals. Those suffering from reversible spasticity should not use Baclofen as it may hinder the treatment of their condition.

Dosing Options

Usual Dosage

Special Dosage

Individual dosing

40 mg per day initially, increased to 80 mg per day as necessary.

Not to be used on individuals with cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease or stroke victims.

Titration schedule

5 mg for three days, followed by 10 mg for three days, 15 mg for three days and 20 mg for three days

This drug should not be used on those that have reversible spasticity.

Baclofen Side Effects

Up to 63 percent of Baclofen users suffer from drowsiness when using this medication. Other common side effects include dizziness which occurs in up to 15 percent of users, nausea in up to 12 percent, confusion in 11 percent, low blood pressure in 9 percent, headaches in 8 percent, insomnia in up to 8 percent, and constipation in 6 percent, frequent urination in up to 6 percent and fatigue in 4 percent of users. These side effects usually get better as your body becomes used to using Baclofen. Talk to your doctor if your side effects do not go away or get worse over time.

Those using the Baclofen pump, also known as an intrathecal injection, may suffer different side effects than those using other forms of the medication. Common side effects of this application include low muscle tone in up to 34.7 percent, drowsiness in 20.9 percent, headaches in 10.7 percent, seizures in 10 percent, dizziness in 8 percent, difficulty passing urine in up to 8 percent and nausea in 7.3 percent of users. These side effects are not usually dangerous, but you should let your doctor know if they occur so you can receive adequate treatment.

Less common side effects of Baclofen include euphoria, ringing in the ears, vision changes, dry mouth, loss of appetite, taste changes, vomiting, diarrhea, impotence, inability to ejaculate, kidney stones, weight gain and excessive perspiration. Let your doctor know if any of these side effects occur so you can get adequate treatment to help alleviate them. You may need to adjust your Baclofen usage to help manage these side effects properly.

If you begin to develop difficulty breathing or seizures contact medical assistance right away. You may be suffering from an overdose of your medication that will require medical assistance to ensure that it does not cause additional harm to your body. Similarly, if any of your other side effects including drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, confusion or upset stomach do not get better over time or become increasingly severe, contact your doctor to get medical assistance.

Types of Side Effects

Symptoms

Common Side Effects

Drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, confusion, low blood pressure, headaches, insomnia, constipation, frequent urination and fatigue.

Baclofen Pump Side Effects

Low muscle tone, drowsiness, headaches, seizures, dizziness, difficulty passing urine and nausea.

Uncommon Side Effects

Euphoria, ringing in the ears, vision changes, dry mouth, loss of appetite, taste changes, vomiting, diarrhea, impotence, inability to ejaculate, kidney stones, weight gain and excessive perspiration.

Overdose

Difficulty breathing or seizures

Interactions

You should not drink alcohol or take antidepressants and antihistamines while using Baclofen. These drugs can increase the effects of this medication to a level that could be unsafe for users. Other medications known to negatively interact with Baclofen include antipsychotics, barbiturates, benzodiazepine sedatives, other muscle relaxants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, narcotics, opiates, and sleep medications. These will increase your chances of developing side effects and discomfort that may be present when you use Baclofen. Talk with your doctor about any medications that you are taking before you start using Baclofen to ensure that you are not combining medications which could be unsafe.


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