What Is Baclofen?
Baclofen is a prescription medicine used to treat muscle spasticity (stiffness, spasms, tightness, and pain) and neurological health issues like multiple sclerosis, neuralgia, spinal cord conditions, and cerebral palsy. It falls under the class of skeletal muscle relaxants.
Baclofen uses and intake methods follow a 3-time-a-day schedule. This generic drug comes in the form of a tablet to be taken orally, in many brand names, such as Lioresal, Lioresal Intrathecal, Kemstro, FBL Kit, Gablofen, Ozobax, and others. It is also available as a powder for suspension and an injectable liquid solution using an oral syringe.
Users taking baclofen must follow the doctor’s directions exactly or those on the prescription label. Otherwise, consuming too much of the drug can cause further illness. In case you have taken a large dose or missed one, do not take the next dose without speaking to your doctor. Also, abruptly stopping the medicine may lead to convulsions, fever, and hallucinations.
The baclofen mechanism of action involves producing relaxant effects on the CNS, central nervous system. Even when the drug is taken for combination therapy, along with other medicine, it can cause severe drowsiness. Hence, users who are on this medication are advised not to operate heavy machinery, drive, or participate in any dangerous activity.
Mixing baclofen and alcohol can also have severe side effects, especially if taking the drug recreationally or when you are an alcoholic. Having dangerous levels of the drug in your system may cause an overdose.
Special precautions must be taken to prevent an overdose. So, before starting the drug, tell your doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not hide about which tablets you are taking currently – including prescription and nonprescription pills, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, sedatives, supplements, and herbal products. If you are using other medications, look at the list of the ingredients carefully.
Baclofen overdose signs are:
- Muscle weakness
- Dilated pupils
- Vision problem
- Shallow breathing
- Weak muscle tone
If you spot these signs, immediately call 911, otherwise, when ignored, these can lead to respiratory depression, seizures, bradycardia, cardiovascular issues, hypothermia, coma, and hypotonia.
Baclofen Addiction Symptoms
People who deliberately seek this sensation tend to abuse baclofen. Particularly when mixed with marijuana or alcohol, baclofen can produce a euphoric feeling, similar to when using opioids or amphetamines.
However, if they miss one dose, they crave for the drug, and even when they do, the body gets habituated to that dosage, and they need more. This is how they develop a tolerance for baclofen. Baclofen side effects include confusion, fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and insomnia.
Abusive intake of this drug – either in excess or with other drugs and alcohol – may lead to Baclofen addiction. Unfortunately, people who already have a substance use disorder, or those who are more sensitive and susceptible, face a high risk of developing an addiction. But once you realize that you have developed a tolerance and become dependent on baclofen, you should not shut down its use suddenly. Quit baclofen altogether, without letting the body get used to the lack of the drug, leads to withdrawal.