Baclofen for Stiff Muscles
Baclofen (Lioresal, Gablofen) is approved for treating spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury or disease, and cerebral palsy. Spasticity occurs when muscles are uncontrollably stiff, which can interfere with walking, speaking, and movement. In some cases, the muscles may shorten, which can cause significant deformity. Researchers are not sure how baclofen works for stiff muscles, but it may inhibit certain nerve signals.
Using Baclofen for Stiff MusclesBaclofen (Lioresal®, Gablofen®) is a prescription medication used to treat spasticity, which is the continual contraction of muscles. Spasticity involves muscles that are uncontrollably stiff, to the point that the problem can interfere with walking, speaking, and movement. Over time, the muscles may actually shorten, which can result in significant deformity, as well as severe loss of function.
Specifically, the tablet form of baclofen is approved to treat spasticity due to multiple sclerosis (MS) or spinal cord injury or disease. The injectable form (which delivers the medication directly to the spinal cord using a pump) is approved to treat severe spasticity due to various causes, such as MS, spinal cord injury or disease, or cerebral palsy.
How Does the Medication Work?It is not fully understood exactly how baclofen works to treat spasticity. This drug is chemically similar to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger in the central nervous system. The primary activity of GABA is to inhibit nerve signals, and baclofen might have actions that are similar to GABA.
The intrathecal infusion form (delivered directly to the spinal cord by a pump) works to provide the medication directly to the spinal cord. This, to some extent, spares the rest of the body from baclofen side effects.