What is baclofen (Lioresal)?
Baclofen, like its name brand counterpart Lioresal, is a drug that controls muscle spasms by causing the muscles to relax. What is the drug used for, and how does it work? Read on to learn more about baclofen.
What is baclofen used for? The primary use is to assist those who are battling with multiple sclerosis. The anti spasm and muscle relaxing effects can help a patient to deal with muscle pain, stiffness, and involuntary spasms. The drug was originally developed with the idea of using it as an epilepsy treatment. Tests showed that the drug performed poorly for this use, but its worth as an antispasmodic was discerned. Thus, it was repurposed for the symptom management of MS.
Additional, in 2012 baclofen was approved for use in assisting alcoholics on the road to recovery. The drug has two particular benefits in regard to rehabilitation. First of all, it helps to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Second, it can reduce the feelings of craving for alcohol. Thus, it is a great help, especially in the early stages of recovery from alcoholism. As such, it may at times be administered at a rehabilitation clinic to assist patients in their recovery.
How does baclofen (Lioresal) work?
Baclofen has been derived from gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Because of this, the baclofen mechanism of action is that it activates the GABAb receptor. The drug GHB does this in a similar fashion, however, baclofen does not stimulate the GHB receptor like the drug GHB does.
Due to this mechanism of action some have wondered: Is baclofen a narcotic? The answer is no. Stimulation of the GABAb receptors is what creates the beneficial effects of baclofen. Recreational use is therefore pointless, even though some have abused the drug in this way to achieve a slight euphoric response. There is a serious risk of overdose when baclofen is abused in this manner because the drug is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream after being taken and spreads to the entire body. An overdose can lead to vomiting, weakness, slowed breathing, and ultimately coma.
If you have been prescribed baclofen, only take it as directed by your physician. This will maximize the benefits that you receive from the drug while reduce the risk of side effects or overdose. Never attempt to acquire balcofen without a prescription, and do not share your prescription medication with anyone else.