Generic name: baclofen [BAK-loe-fen]
Drug class: Skeletal muscle relaxants
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on May 14, 2023.
Uses for baclofen
Baclofen is used to help relax certain muscles in your body. It relieves the spasms, cramping, and tightness of muscles caused by medical problems, including multiple sclerosis or certain injuries to the spine. Baclofen does not cure these problems, but it may allow other treatment, such as physical therapy, to be more helpful in improving your condition.
Baclofen acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to produce its muscle relaxant effects. Its actions on the CNS may also cause some of the medicine's side effects. Baclofen may also be used to relieve other conditions as determined by your doctor.
This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using baclofen
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of baclofen oral liquid and granules in children younger than 12 years of age. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of baclofen tablets in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established..
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of baclofen oral liquid and granules in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney, liver, or heart problems, which may require caution for patients receiving this medicine.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of baclofen tablet in the elderly. Side effects such as hallucinations, confusion or mental depression, other mood or mental changes, and severe drowsiness may be especially likely to occur in elderly patients, who are usually more sensitive than younger adults to the effects of this medicine.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Calcium Oxybate
- Gabapentin Enacarbil
- Magnesium Oxybate
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Potassium Oxybate
- Ropeginterferon Alfa-2b-njft
- Sodium Oxybate
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Autonomic dysreflexia, history of or
- Diabetes or
- Epilepsy or
- Mental illness or problems (eg, psychosis, schizophrenia) or
- Ovarian cysts or
- Posture or balance problems or
- Stroke, recent—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Kidney disease—The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
cyclobenzaprine, tizanidine, baclofen, diazepam, methocarbamol, Botox, Soma
Proper use of baclofen
Take this medicine exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, or do not take it longer than your doctor ordered.
This medicine comes with a patient information and instructions leaflet. Read and follow the instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.
To use the granules:
- Open the packet and empty all the granules directly into your mouth. The granules will dissolve in your mouth or can be swallowed. You may drink water after taking the medicine.
- You may mix the granules with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of liquid (eg, apple juice or milk) or soft foods (eg, applesauce, pudding, or yogurt). Take this mixture within 2 hours of mixing.
- This medicine can also be given using a nasogastric or gastric feeding tube. Mix the granules with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of liquid (eg, apple juice or milk). Give this mixture within 2 hours of mixing. After the medicine is given, flush the tube with an additional 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of water.
- Take all the contents of the packet to get a full dose. Do not take only part of this medicine. Do not save a portion for later use.
Measure the oral liquid with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For muscle relaxation:
- For oral dosage form (granules):
- Adults and children 12 years of age and older—At first, 5 milligrams (mg) 3 times a day for 3 days. Your doctor may increase your dose by 5 mg every 3 days as needed and tolerated. However, the dose is usually not more than 80 milligrams (mg) per day (20 mg four times a day).
- Children younger than 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For oral dosage form (solution):
- Adults and children 12 years of age and older—At first, 5 milliliters (mL) 3 times a day for 3 days. Your doctor may increase your dose by 5 mL every 3 days as needed and tolerated. However, the dose is usually not more than 80 milligrams (mg) per day (20 mg four times a day).
- Children younger than 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For oral dosage form (tablets):
- Adults and teenagers—At first, 5 milligrams (mg) 3 times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose by 5 mg every 3 days until the desired response is reached. However, the dose is not more than 80 mg per day.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
- For oral dosage form (granules):
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Store the oral liquid in the refrigerator. Do not freeze.
Detailed Baclofen dosage information
Precautions while using baclofen
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to take it.
Do not suddenly stop using this medicine without checking first with your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely. Unwanted side effects (eg, hallucinations, seizures, high fever, rhabdomyolysis) may occur if baclofen is stopped suddenly.
This medicine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that slow down the nervous system, possibly causing drowsiness). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for seizures or barbiturates, other muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using baclofen.
This medicine may cause dizziness, drowsiness, vision problems, or clumsiness or unsteadiness in some people. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert, well-coordinated, and able to see well.
This medicine may affect blood sugar levels. If you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests or if you have any questions, check with your doctor.
Using this medicine while you are pregnant may cause neonatal withdrawal syndrome in your newborn babies. Tell your doctor right away if your baby has shakiness or tremors, seizures, or increased muscle tone.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of baclofen
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Less common or rare
- Bloody or dark urine
- chest pain
- clumsiness, unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control
- false sense of well-being
- mental depression or other mood changes
- pounding heartbeat
- ringing or buzzing in the ears
- seeing or hearing things that are not there
- skin rash or itching
- slurred speech or other speech problems
- swelling of the ankles
- unexplained muscle stiffness
- unusual excitement
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Blurred vision
- irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing
- loss of strength or energy
- muscle pain or weakness
- pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- trouble breathing
- unusual weak feeling
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- increased need to urinate
- passing urine more often
- trouble sleeping
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Less common or rare
- loss of appetite
- muscle or joint pain
- numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- stomach pain or discomfort
- stuffy nose
- weight gain
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Baclofen side effects (more detail)
More about baclofen
- Check interactions
- Compare alternatives
- Reviews (425)
- Drug images
- Side effects
- Dosage information
- Patient tips
- During pregnancy
- Support group
- Drug class: skeletal muscle relaxants
- Drug Information
- Baclofen (Intrathecal) (Advanced Reading)
- Baclofen Intrathecal Injection
- Baclofen Tablets
- Baclofen Oral Solution
Lioresal, Gablofen, Fleqsuvy, Lyvispah, Ozobax
- Prescribing Information
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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
- Feeling sleepy, tired, dizzy or weak. ...
- Feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting) ...
- Diarrhoea. ...
- Headaches. ...
- Problems sleeping. ...
- Dry mouth. ...
- Rapid eye movements, blurred vision or difficulty focusing. ...
- Excessive sweating or a mild rash.
Baclofen can interact with other medications and substances that slow down brain activity. This includes alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids. Baclofen can also interact with sleep medications and barbiturates.Is baclofen a high risk medication? ›
There is a high risk of overdosing on Baclofen, especially when used recreationally. Signs of an overdose include muscle weakness, vomiting, drowsiness, dilated or pinpoint pupils, and weak or shallow breathing. If untreated, an overdose can result in possibly fatal seizures.Is baclofen safe for seniors? ›
Side effects such as hallucinations, confusion or mental depression, other mood or mental changes, and severe drowsiness may be especially likely to occur in elderly patients, who are usually more sensitive than younger adults to the effects of this medicine.Who should avoid baclofen? ›
have ever had an allergic reaction to baclofen or any other medicine. have a stomach ulcer. have lung, kidney or liver disease. have a mental health condition.What is a bad reaction to baclofen? ›
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible: Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat. CNS depression—slow or shallow breathing, shortness of breath, feeling faint, dizziness, confusion, trouble staying awake.What is the best time of day to take baclofen? ›
How to take it. It's better to take baclofen tablets with or after food. If you or your child are taking baclofen as a liquid, it will come with a plastic syringe or medicine spoon to help you measure out the right dose. If you do not have one, ask your pharmacist for one.Is baclofen hard on your kidneys? ›
Baclofen, a commonly prescribed muscle relaxant, is primarily excreted via the kidneys; toxicity is a potentially serious adverse outcome in patients with decreased kidney function.Does baclofen affect the heart? ›
4 It is concluded that the increases in blood pressure and heart rate produced by high doses of baclofen are of central sympathetic origin.What is the box warning for baclofen? ›
The FDA requires a black box warning for baclofen. Abrupt withdrawal of intrathecal baclofen may occur in patients using the drug over two months.
Also some patients benefit from the use of baclofen only at night to counteract painful flexor spasm. Similarly a single dose given approximately 1 hour prior to the performance of specific tasks such as washing, dressing, shaving, physiotherapy, will often improve mobility.Does baclofen affect the brain? ›
How Baclofen Affects the Brain and Body. Baclofen is classified as a central nervous system depressant, along with being a skeletal muscle relaxant. Its chemical structure is similar to GABA, a neurotransmitter that calms neural activity. When it's taken, the drug activates GABA receptors in the brain.What is safest muscle relaxer for elderly? ›
Some muscle relaxants (baclofen and tizanidine) can be used in older persons, again accounting for kidney and liver function. Opioids have limited use in common spine-related pain, but can be used with caution in cases that don't respond to treatment.What is the safest muscle relaxant to take? ›
Taken as 800 mg tablets 3 to 4 times a day, metaxalone (Skelaxin) has the fewest reported side effects. It's also the least likely of the muscle relaxants to make you sleepy.
It is recommended that baclofen, a centrally acting muscle relaxant, be administered with food or milk to minimize its gastrointestinal side-effects.Can you take baclofen with blood pressure tablets? ›
Baclofen can lower blood pressure, hence if it is taken by people taking blood pressure lowering medicines (antihypertensives) this effect is likely to be increased. If you are receiving medicines for high blood pressure your doctor may want to decrease your doses to avoid your blood pressure falling too low.Which is safer baclofen or Flexeril? ›
Baclofen is a go-to choice for muscle spasms from brain injury or nerve damage. Cyclobenzaprine is a moderately effective option for muscle spasms due to muscle or bone problems. But these medications both have potentially serious side effects and medication interactions.Can you stop baclofen suddenly? ›
Do not suddenly stop using this medicine without checking first with your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely. Unwanted side effects (eg, hallucinations, seizures, high fever, rhabdomyolysis) may occur if baclofen is stopped suddenly.Can you just take baclofen as needed? ›
You can take baclofen as needed. It starts to work pretty quickly, and you don't need to take it consistently (every day) for it to work well for you. Keep all formulations of baclofen at room temperature except for the Ozobax solution.
Baclofen acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to produce its muscle relaxant effects. Its actions on the CNS may also cause some of the medicine's side effects. Baclofen may also be used to relieve other conditions as determined by your doctor.Does baclofen interfere with sleep? ›
Common side effects noted with baclofen include drowsiness in addition to insomnia, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, confusion, and headache.Can I take baclofen before sleep? ›
We have shown that baclofen administered at bedtime decreases sleep related reflux events and markedly improves objective and subjective sleep parameters compared with placebo.Does baclofen affect urinary bladder? ›
After the inhibition of bladder contraction by i.v. injection of baclofen, electrical stimulation of the sacral cord could contract the bladder and cause a fall in bladder pressure to around the level existing after micturition.Can baclofen make your legs weak? ›
Combining baclofen and tricyclic antidepressants may cause muscle weakness. Use of baclofen and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) can result in greater depression of brain function as well as low blood pressure.Can baclofen hurt your liver? ›
Baclofen is a centrally acting muscle relaxant commonly prescribed for spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. Baclofen has not been linked to rare instances of mild, self-limited, clinically apparent liver injury.Does baclofen cause memory loss? ›
Furthermore baclofen in combination with gabapentin and pregabalin can cause memory impairment because of their additive effects in combination therapy on inhibition of excitatory neurotransmitters and hippocampal-memory network.Does baclofen raise blood sugar? ›
Baclofen can affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, talk with your doctor or health care professional before you take the medicine. You may get drowsy or dizzy when you first start taking the medicine or change doses.Is baclofen safe daily? ›
Treatment with baclofen is usually long-term, so keep taking these tablets unless your doctor tells you otherwise. Suddenly stopping treatment can cause problems, so your doctor is likely to want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
Baclofen reduces pain and discomfort caused by muscle spasms. The tablets and liquid start to work after 1 hour after taking it. However, it might take a few days before you find the right dose to control your symptoms.What muscles does baclofen relax? ›
Baclofen is used to relieve muscle spasms such as those caused by multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries due to damage or disease. Particularly effective for relieving flexor spasms (involuntary muscle spasms involving the ankle, knee, or hip) and the pain, contractions, and rigidity associated with these.Does baclofen calm you down? ›
In addition to relaxing the muscles, baclofen seems to have an anxiolytic effect, meaning that it reduces anxiety. This makes sense because the GABA receptors control anxiety. Other drugs such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonipin, or Valium for example) also work on the GABA receptors, causing an anti-anxiety effect.Does baclofen affect kidneys or liver? ›
Due to its low cost and low addiction potential, baclofen has been the muscle relaxant of choice for many years. This drug is metabolized in the kidneys, posing a threat to patients with underlying renal dysfunction, with complications ranging from drug toxicity to death.What is the best nerve pain medication for the elderly? ›
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs such as venlafaxine and duloxetine can be used for neuropathic pain in the elderly. SNRIs are generally well tolerated but side effects include hyponatremia, giddiness, nausea, and abdominal pain.Why don t doctors like to prescribe muscle relaxers? ›
The problem with muscle relaxants — and it's a big problem — is this: Although the drugs are effective and have been in use for decades, most of them work through the central nervous system, causing general sedation and not by targeting muscle tissue.What are 5 drugs to avoid in the elderly? ›
- NSAIDs. (non-steroidal inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) and aspirin can increase risk of stomach ulcers, blood pressure, heart failure and affect kidneys.
- Antihistamines. ...
- Sleeping aids. ...
- Benzodiazepines. ...
- Baclofen should not usually be given to people who have a stomach ulcer, epilepsy, mental health problems or diabetes.
- Dantrolene should not be given to people with liver, heart or breathing problems.
1. Chamomile. Chamomile is an ancient herb that's used to treat a variety of ailments, including muscle spasms. It contains 36 flavonoids, which are compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.What is the downside of muscle relaxers? ›
Individuals taking muscle relaxants should be aware of dangerous side effects associated with their use. This could include difficulty walking, drowsiness, decreased blood pressure, urine retention, and addiction.
Baclofen has an average rating of 6.9 out of 10 from a total of 425 ratings on Drugs.com. 61% of reviewers reported a positive effect, while 24% reported a negative effect. Gabapentin has an average rating of 7.1 out of 10 from a total of 2447 ratings on Drugs.com.What is the most common side effect of baclofen? ›
This medicine may cause dizziness, drowsiness, vision problems, or clumsiness or unsteadiness in some people. Make sure you know how you react to this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert, well-coordinated, and able to see well.What are the long term side effects of baclofen overdose? ›
Baclofen overdose can lead to coma, respiratory depression, hyporeflexia, and flaccidity. An abrupt decrease in the dose of baclofen due to surgery or a rapid tapering program may result in severe baclofen withdrawal syndrome manifesting hallucinations, delirium, seizures, and high fever.Does baclofen have a black box warning? ›
This medicine has a black box warning that appears on the prescription drug's label to call attention to serious or life-threatening risks. Abrupt discontinuation of injected Gablofen may cause high fever, altered mental status, an increase in spasms, and muscle rigidity.What causes baclofen toxicity? ›
Baclofen is a synthetic derivative of GABA. At a therapeutic dose it acts on spinal GABAb receptors but in overdose this selectivity is lost and the GABA receptors in the brain are targeted resulting in sedation and coma.
Pearls and Other Issues
Clinical signs and symptoms of baclofen include confusion, delirium, CNS and respiratory depression, hypotonia, flaccid paralysis, and hemodynamic instability. In overdose, baclofen can mimic brain death.
4 It is concluded that the increases in blood pressure and heart rate produced by high doses of baclofen are of central sympathetic origin.What medications interact with baclofen? ›
- calcium/magnesium/potassium/sodium oxybates.
- metoclopramide intranasal.
- sodium oxybate.
- sufentanil SL.
Like baclofen, cyclobenzaprine is a prescription medication that's taken by mouth. But unlike baclofen, cyclobenzaprine is an antispasmodic muscle relaxant. This means it's used to treat muscle spasms due to muscle and bone problems.What organ metabolizes baclofen? ›
Baclofen is well absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, producing the determined therapeutic levels of 80–400 ng/ml. The main method of drug excretion is through the kidney (70–80%), whereas the rest is metabolized in the liver or processed through the gastrointestinal tract.