What is Baclofen?
Baclofen is a prescription medication belonging to the group of drugs known as muscle relaxers. It is used to treat many conditions with muscle pain and stiffness.
Baclofen is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat the same.
What are the uses of Baclofen?
Baclofen belongs to a class of drugs known as skeletal muscle relaxants. While it is not exactly known how it works, it is thought that it blocks the signals from your nervous system that cause muscle spasms. It also improves muscle movement and reduces pain.
Baclofen can help to manage muscle pain, stiffness, and spasms in the following conditions:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal cord injury
- Spinal cord diseases
The medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your physician or pharmacist for detailed information.
How do you use Baclofen?
- Take this medication orally thrice a day with or without food or as prescribed by your physician.
- Take this tablet daily at the same time.
- Follow all the instructions on the prescription label.
- Do not stop taking this medication abruptly without consulting your doctor.
- Do not take it more or less, or take it more than often than prescribed by your doctor.
- Do not stop using it even if you feel well.
It may take several weeks before you begin to notice the full benefits of the medication.
If You Miss the Dose
- If you happen to miss a dose of Baclofen, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
- However, if it is almost time for the next dose, do not take the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose.
- Do not take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose.
What are the side-effects and risks of Baclofen?
Like all other medications, Baclofen may cause side effects, although it is unlikely to happen in everyone. However, it is important that you are aware of what could be the possible side effects.
Very common side effects
- Feeling sick
Common side effects:
- Dry mouth
- Light-headedness or dizziness
- Aching muscles
- Excessively weak limbs
- Trembling, unsteadiness, or other problems with muscle control
- Mood changes
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Fainting due to low blood pressure
- Skin rash
- Excessive sweating
- Uncontrollable or rapid eye movements or other eyesight problems
- Increased urine frequency or pain while passing urine
Rare side effects
- Increased muscle spasm
- Disturbed sense of taste
- Numbness or sensation of pins and needles in hands or feet
- Stomach pain
- Problems in getting or maintaining an erection
- Slow or slurred speech
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Liver problems
Very rare side effects
- low body temperature (hypothermia)
Unknown side effects
- Nettle rash, itchy and raised rash
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Sleep apnea, trouble breathing during sleep
- Slow heartbeat
This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.
Who should not take Baclofen?
Inform your physician if you have the following conditions before starting Baclofen:
- Severe liver or kidney disorders
- Mental disorders
- Stomach ulcers
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Parkinson’s disease
- Rheumatic disease
- Cerebral palsy
Talk to your doctor before taking Baclofen if:
- You are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
- You are allergic to Baclofen or any of its ingredients or have any other allergies.
- You are allergic to any other medication.
- You are taking any other drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbal products, or nutritional supplements.
Besides, certain medicines may interfere with its working and thus might not be safe to take them together. Some of them are:
- Other muscle relaxants such as tizanidine
- Medicines to manage mood disorders, such as lithium
- Tricyclic depressants, such as amitriptyline
- Medications to treat hypertension, such as diltiazem
- Drugs to manage Parkinson’s disease, such as carbidopa and levodopa
- Medicines that have action on kidneys, such as ibuprofen
- Medications that slow down your nervous system, such as temazepam
- Anti-histamines, such as promethazine, cetirizine, and diphenhydramine
- Opiates for pain relief, such as fentanyl and morphine
- Anti-epileptic medicines, such as carbamazepine
- Cough relievers, such as hydrocodone and codeine
- Medications to manage sleep or anxiety, such as lorazepam, alprazolam, and zolpidem
This may not be a comprehensive list, and other drugs may interact with Baclofen. Please inform your doctor if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.
When should you not take Baclofen?
You should not take Baclofen if:
- It has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.
- The packaging shows signs of tampering
- You have grapefruit juice
- You have alcohol
This drug may make you dizzy. Hence, consumption of alcohol or any sedative, marijuana (cannabis), tranquilizer, or sleep aid can cause more dizziness.
Further, Baclofen may alter your ability to drive or operate machines. It may make you feel dizzy, sick, or tired, and even give you a headache. If you feel any of these effects, do not drive or operate machines and immediately contact your doctor.