What Is Baclofen Used For?
Spasticity caused by conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or spinal cord injury or disease can often be treated with baclofen. It is not exactly clear how the drug works, but it may work by inhibiting certain nerve signals in the body. Occasionally, healthcare providers recommend "off-label" baclofen uses, such as the treatment of bladder spasms, chronic hiccups, or alcoholism.
Baclofen Uses: An OverviewBaclofen (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.
Spasticity is the continual contraction of muscles. This can result in pain and loss of function, and 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. Spasticity is usually the result of damage to the brain or the spinal cord.
How Does This 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.
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.