Baclofen is a drug used for treating muscle spasms. It acts on the spinal cord nerves to reduce the severity and frequency of muscle spasms or cramps for people with certain conditions that affect the spinal cord.
This drug is effective for relaxing the muscles and reducing muscle stiffness common in people with spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or other spinal cord diseases. Baclofen belongs to a class of drugs known as muscle relaxants, but the medication may be used for other purposes not mentioned in the guide.
Baclofen is recommended for people who are 12 years and above, and it starts from a low dose. It is taken 3 times daily and increased gradually every 3 days as follows: 5mg 3 times per day for 3 days, 10mg 3 times per day for 3 days, 15mg 3 times per day for 3 days, and so on.
Your doctor will monitor your condition and response to treatment every 3 days and increase your dose appropriately, but the maximum dose is 80mg divided into 4 doses per day, 20mg each.
If the medication doesn’t seem effective after using it for a while, or if you are done with your treatment and need to stop using the drug, you will be placed on withdrawal therapy, and the dose will be reduced the same way it was increased.
Side Effects of Baclofen
Some side effects of baclofen include
- Severe drowsiness.
- Increased urination.
- Breathing problems.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Muscle weakness, tingling, itching or twitching hands and legs.
Some of these side effects are mild and will resolve on their own. However, if they persist or become worse and if you notice sudden mood changes and depression, you need to contact your doctor and seek medical advice to know if you should continue the drug. Do not stop the medication abruptly without consulting your healthcare provider.
Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you have any drug allergies and if you have a medical history of kidney disease, brain disorders such as stroke or seizures, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
If you are pregnant, discuss the risks and benefits of this drug with your doctor. It may cause withdrawal symptoms, like seizures, for babies born to mothers who use it during pregnancy. So, if you notice such symptoms in your newborn, consult your healthcare provider.
Baclofen also passes into breast milk; if you are breastfeeding, tell your doctor before taking this drug.
Furthermore, Baclofen may make you sleepy or drowsy, so do not drive or use machinery after taking the drug. In addition, older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially mood changes and drowsiness.