Baclofen While Pregnant: What You Need to Know
Is Baclofen Safe To Take while Pregnant?
There is always a certain level of risk during pregnancy, and the potential for certain complications and birth defects can be heightened because of medications or substances used during pregnancy. This includes over-the-counter and prescription medications. Lioresal is a brand-name, prescription drug used orally, and the generic name is baclofen. Baclofen is classified as a muscle relaxant and antispastic. Baclofen is used for the treatment of uncontrolled muscle movements usually caused by spinal cord diseases or injuries and multiple sclerosis. Baclofen is a central nervous system depressant, and it’s a derivative of the naturally-occurring GABA neurotransmitter.
For the most part, baclofen and Lioresal aren’t drugs of abuse. They don’t have addictive or euphoric properties, and there are limited cases of people abusing this drug. However, withdrawal symptoms can occur if someone stops using it suddenly. Baclofen can have sedative and anti-anxiety properties as well, which some users find desirable. Regardless, since the instances of abuse seem to be fairly low with Lioresal, if a woman is using it during pregnancy she’s likely prescribed to it. Is it safe, however? If a woman is prescribed Lioresal to treat a condition involving muscle spasticity and she stops taking it during pregnancy, are there alternatives? What effects can baclofen have on a fetus? These are all questions people may have. The overall recommendation is that baclofen while pregnant may not be safe. There are studies linking Lioresal while pregnant and generic baclofen while pregnant to birth defects in animals. If someone is taking the drug and may be pregnant or is planning to become pregnant, they should speak with their physician first.
With a medication like baclofen or Lioresal, what a doctor will usually do is weigh the benefits versus the risks. If the benefits of the mother continuing the medication are greater than the potential risks of baclofen on a fetus, then the doctor may advise she keep taking it during her pregnancy. However, if this isn’t the case, the doctor may recommend something that is considered safer. There are a lot of unknowns and limited information on the potential effects of baclofen on a fetus, making it important pregnant women speak first and foremost with their medical provider. It should also be noted that the limited available information on baclofen and pregnancy seems to show that when fetuses are exposed to it earlier on in pregnancy, it can lead to a higher risk of malformations.
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