Baclofen is a generic medication, prescribed to treat muscle spasms caused by certain conditions such as spasticity related to spinal cord injuries and disease, as well as multiple sclerosis. When someone is prescribed baclofen in an oral form, they usually take it several times a day and at the same time each day. Patients are usually started on the lowest possible effective dosage in order to reduce the risk of side effects. Baclofen is available as an injection as well, which is administered through an implantable pump.
There is a risk of dependence with the use of baclofen. Baclofen affects GABA receptors in the central nervous system. When someone becomes dependent upon baclofen, which usually happens within a few months, they should taper down their dosage slowly when they decide to stop using. Otherwise, baclofen withdrawal can be severe. Some of the symptoms associated with baclofen withdrawal include hallucinations, disorientation, psychosis, mania, tachycardia and seizures. The longer someone uses baclofen, and the more abruptly they stop, the more severe withdrawal symptoms are likely to be.
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. Since baclofen affects these receptors, it can calm neural activity that leads to muscle spasms. Baclofen is similar to phenibut, which affects the GABA receptors as well. It is also very similar in structure to pregabalin. Some of the common side effects of baclofen include drowsiness, sleep disturbances, nausea, urination problems, constipation and fatigue.
Baclofen has a relatively short half-life. The half-life of a drug is a measure of how long it would take half of a dose of the drug to be eliminated. The half-life of baclofen is around two to four hours. Because of the short half-life, most patients have to take baclofen several times throughout the day in order to ensure that it’s able to consistently control spasticity. Based on this half-life estimate, it would take around 10 to 20 hours for the drug to completely clear from the system. This information is relevant in order to anticipate when withdrawal symptoms might occur. Since baclofen withdrawal symptoms can be so severe, it’s important for people to know the elimination time for this drug.
While the half-life of baclofen may average anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, some people will eliminate the drug more quickly than others. Age is one of the big factors that determine how long baclofen stays in the system. It tends to take older people longer to eliminate drugs from their body, compared to young people. Body mass and the dosage are determining factors as well. If someone takes a high dose of baclofen, it’s going to take longer for it to be eliminated from their system. Additionally, if someone has been using baclofen for an extended period of time, it’s also going to take longer for them to eliminate baclofen because it can accumulate in their body. Another factor that determines how quickly the body can eliminate baclofen is the individual’s metabolism rate. People with faster metabolisms eliminate substances more quickly.
If someone had to undergo a standard drug-screening panel, there likely wouldn’t be testing for baclofen. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant, so unless it’s specifically being tested for it’s not going to be part of a drug test. If it is specifically tested for, it can stay in the blood for a day or less, in most cases. Since baclofen is eliminated via urine, it can be detected in a urine screen for up to two days. If someone overdosed or took a very large amount of baclofen, it could stay in the urine and blood for longer and, in some cases, for up to 10 days.
Addiction is a disease that can be treated. Contact The Recovery Village to learn more about how to take the next step.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.