How Does Baclofen Work?

Baclofen (Lioresal®, Gablofen®) is a prescription medication used to treat spasticity. Specifically, the tablet form 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, including MS, spinal cord injury or disease, or cerebral palsy.
 
It is not fully understood exactly how baclofen works to treat spasticity. The medication 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 similar actions.
 
Baclofen intrathecal infusion (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 side effects.
 
(For more information on how baclofen works, click What Is Baclofen Used For?. This article provides an overview of this medication, including information on its uses, off-label uses, and whether it is safe for use in children.)
 
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