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Baclofen

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

By mouth

Baclofen is used to help relax certain muscles in your body. It relieves the spasms, cramping, and tightness of muscles caused by medical problems such… Read more

Brand names include: Lioresal, Lioresal Double Strength

By injection

Intrathecal baclofen is used to help relax certain muscles in your body. It relieves the spasms, cramping, and tightness of muscles caused by medical… Read more

Brand names include: Gablofen, Lioresal

Drug classes About this
Analgesic, Skeletal Muscle Relaxant, Centrally Acting

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Intrathecal baclofen for treating spasticity in children with cerebral palsy

Spasticity, which is an increase in muscle tone, is the most common difficulty with movement seen in children with cerebral palsy. Baclofen is a medication which acts on receptors in the brain and spinal cord to reduce abnormal muscle tone. It has been used as an oral medication for many years. The disadvantages of oral administration are that only a small amount of the medication crosses the blood‐brain barrier before it can exert an effect, and that the dose is limited by the unwanted effect of excessive sedation. The administration of baclofen into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord overcomes these problems. This treatment is called intrathecal baclofen therapy and it is administered via a pump placed under the skin connected to a catheter which enters the membranes covering the spinal cord to deliver the baclofen directly into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain.

Baclofen for alcohol withdrawal syndrome

This review attempted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of baclofen as a therapy for alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) in people with alcoholism.

Spasticity in Children and Young People with Non-Progressive Brain Disorders: Management of Spasticity and Co-Existing Motor Disorders and Their Early Musculoskeletal Complications

This guideline covers the management of spasticity and co-existing motor disorders and their early musculoskeletal complications in children and young people (from birth up to their 19th birthday) with non-progressive brain disorders.

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Summaries for consumers

Intrathecal baclofen for treating spasticity in children with cerebral palsy

Spasticity, which is an increase in muscle tone, is the most common difficulty with movement seen in children with cerebral palsy. Baclofen is a medication which acts on receptors in the brain and spinal cord to reduce abnormal muscle tone. It has been used as an oral medication for many years. The disadvantages of oral administration are that only a small amount of the medication crosses the blood‐brain barrier before it can exert an effect, and that the dose is limited by the unwanted effect of excessive sedation. The administration of baclofen into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord overcomes these problems. This treatment is called intrathecal baclofen therapy and it is administered via a pump placed under the skin connected to a catheter which enters the membranes covering the spinal cord to deliver the baclofen directly into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain.

Baclofen for alcohol withdrawal syndrome

This review attempted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of baclofen as a therapy for alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS) in people with alcoholism.

Not enough evidence about the effects of drugs used to try and reduce spasticity in the limbs after spinal cord injury

A major problem after spinal cord injury is muscle resistance to having the arms or legs moved (spasticity). There can also be spasms. This can severely limit a person's mobility and independence, and can cause pain, muscle problems, and sleep difficulties. Treatments to try and reduce spasticity include exercise, and drugs to try and decrease the muscle tone. The review found there was not enough evidence from trials to assess the effects of the range of drugs used to try and relieve spasticity after spinal cord injury. The authors of the review call for more research and make recommendations as to how this research should be conducted.

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