Baclofen is a popular medication that is used as a cure for spastic conditions: multiple sclerosis, damages to the spinal cord (tumours, syringomyelia, motor neuron lesion, transverse myelitis, and spinal cord injuries), haemorrhagic stroke, cerebral palsy, meningitis, head injuries.
The main pharmacological effects of the drug are the following:
- it lowers the increased tone of skeletal muscles, which is mainly caused by the damage to the spinal cord;
- it suppresses cutaneous reflexes and muscle tone;
- it slightly reduces the amplitude of tendon reflexes.
The pharmacological effects of the medication can be explained by hyperpolarization of the ascending nerves, oppression of both mono- and poly-synaptic reflexes on the level of the spinal cord. The drug does not influence the neuromuscular transmission. Due to the suppression of CNS functioning caused by high dosage of Baclofen, it is supposed to influence the centres located supra spinally.
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- Usage directions and dosage
The medication is for oral use only. The dosage should be prescribed individually to establish the smallest possible amount of the drug that does not cause any side effects. The initial amount for both children and adults should be no more than 5 mg; on the fourth day of therapy the additional 5 mg are added. Generally the largest daily dosage is 20-25 mg three times a day. What it means is that we begin taking Baclofen 5 mg three times a day, after three days we enlarge the dosage, and we do so after every three days up until the amount taken reaches 25 mg three times a day.
Patients react differently, some show the therapeutic effects only after six days (30 mg a day), and the therapy period of others stretches up to the maximum dose (75 mg a day) and only then the implications can be observed. As the dosage enlarges, it has to be lessened the same way. The therapy period depends on the acuteness of the disease. But, no way should the reception of the drug be interrupted rapidly, as it may cause hallucinations and exacerbation of the spastic condition.
Baclofen is best taken with meals. The enlargement of the doze for the elderly patients should be monitored with great care, because the risk of side effects at such age in higher than it is for younger people. The dosage is being gradually enlarged up until the desired effects occur, and only then it is being lowered gradually. Patients with kidney malfunction shouldn’t be prescribed more than 5 mg a day.
- Side effects and complications
Among other side effects the following should be pointed out: drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, obfuscation, confusion, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, euphoria, alertness, depression, hallucinations, muscle ache, vomiting, etc. For detailed list you should consult your doctor or check the instruction.
The contradictions of usage aren’t multiple: personal sensitivity to the components of the medicine, peptic ulcer.
- Interaction with other medical products
While taking Baclofen you should be careful not to mix it with:
- other CNS-influencing products,
- alcohol, which amplifies the sedative reaction;
- lithium, which may enhance hyperactivity symptoms;
- tricyclic antidepressants, which aggravate the effects of Baclofen and cause significant decrease in muscle tone;
- antihypertensive drugs, which may cause elevation of the hypotensive effect;
- drugs that lead to renal failure, because deceleration of the Baclofen emission may increase toxic effects;
- fentanyl, because the anaesthetic effect of the drug is lengthened.
Additional information on dosage and effects of the medicament can be obtained from the doctor. Before using, you should check the instruction for all possible side effects and make sure that your other medications are safe to take together with Baclofen.
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