What is Baclofen Used For?

What is Baclofen?

Baclofen is a muscle relaxant drug that is effective in reducing pain and muscle spasticity resulting from an array of physical conditions. Baclofen acts by working on the central nervous system.

Baclofen has been shown to be a moderately safe drug to take, but it does come with some risk of psychological addiction and physical dependence. Many people taking Baclofen experience both side effects while taking the drug as well as withdrawal when they stop. Baclofen comes in two forms: a pill form and an injectable form. According to MedicineNet, the typical dosage of baclofen begins as 5 milligrams given three times daily.

What is Baclofen Used For?
What is baclofen used to treat? One of the original uses for baclofen was epilepsy. Baclofen was considered to be an anticonvulsant drug that would help reduce the number of seizures in epilepsy patients. However, while baclofen is not considered to be unsafe for the treatment of epilepsy, more recent studies have shown somewhat inconclusive results as to its effectiveness.

The most common uses of baclofen are for skeletal and muscular disorders such as multiple sclerosis. It can also be used to reduce spasticity related to MS or spinal cord injuries, and for these cases, it is often given using a baclofen pump. A baclofen pump is a device that delivers the baclofen medication directly to the region or regions between the discs of the spinal cord. This type of treatment, called intrathecal baclofen (ITB), can help people who have a hard time with side effects of the pill form. It delivers the drug right to the spinal cord, and only tiny doses are needed, according to WebMD.

Another off-label use for baclofen is to treat addiction. Baclofen for addiction can be used for recovering alcoholics and people addicted to opioids. More studies need to be done, but baclofen has shown some early promise in easing withdrawal symptoms of recovering opioid addicts. A 2003 study published by the National Institutes of Health studied people with the psychological disease of addiction being given baclofen versus a placebo drug. “Treatment retention was significantly higher in the baclofen group. Baclofen also showed a significant superiority over placebo in terms of opiate withdrawal syndrome and depressive symptoms.”
Many patients wonder, is baclofen an opiate? Although some people have reported mild euphoric sensations while taking baclofen, it is not classified as an opioid drug. Despite this, many disagree with baclofen used for addiction, since it is itself a fairly addictive drug. Patients and their doctors should be aware of the possibility of addiction and withdrawal side effects of baclofen prior to starting this drug.
As we mentioned above, baclofen can be misused since it can produce euphoria at high doses. Another danger is mixing baclofen with other drugs, especially alcohol or other tranquilizers.

If you or a loved one could be struggling with substance use disorder involving baclofen or other drugs, we invite you to contact our compassionate and well-trained team at The Recovery Village. Even if you just have questions you’d like answered, we’re here and ready to help in any way we can.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.