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Other names: Lioresal, Lyflex

Baclofen is a drug that has a long history of use as a treatment for spasticity and spasms in multiple sclerosis. The NICE guideline for MS suggests that baclofen should be the first drug used when treating MS spasticity.

What is baclofen used for in MS?

Baclofen is a drug used to treat spasticity and spasms in multiple sclerosis. The NICE guideline for MS suggsuggests that baclofen should be the first drug used for MS spasticity.

How do I take baclofen?

Baclofen is taken by mouth (orally) as tablets or as a liquid. Treatment usually starts with a small dose that can be increased in steps until it is most effective or side effects become a problem.

If you have more advanced spasticity, a smaller dose of the drug can be given directly into the spine (intrathecally) using an implanted pump.

What side effects could I get with baclofen?

Side effects affect almost half (45%) of people taking baclofen. These include drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness and difficulty sleeping. If the dose is too high, muscles can become weak.

Stopping treatment suddenly may cause severe withdrawal symptoms.  These can include hallucinations and seizures.  You should talk to your doctor before stopping treatment, and plan a gradual reduction of the daily dose.

How does baclofen work?

Baclofen is a type of drug known as a gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)-B receptor agonist.  This means that it reduces the transmission of messages between nerve cells.  This means that muscles are less likely to contract and become stiff.

Last reviewed: 23 March 2016
This page will be reviewed within three years