Baclofen therapeutics, toxicity, and withdrawal: A narrative review

Jia W. Romito, Emily R. Turner, John A. Rosener, Landon Coldiron, Ashutosh Udipi, Linsey Nohrn, Jacob Tausiani, Bryan T. Romito

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Baclofen is an effective therapeutic for the treatment of spasticity related to multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, and other spinal cord pathologies. It has been increasingly used off-label for the management of several disorders, including musculoskeletal pain, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and alcohol use disorder. Baclofen therapy is associated with potential complications, including life-threatening toxicity and withdrawal syndrome. These disorders require prompt recognition and a high index of suspicion. While these complications can develop following administration of either oral or intrathecal baclofen, the risk is greater with the intrathecal route. The management of baclofen toxicity is largely supportive while baclofen withdrawal syndrome is most effectively treated with re-initiation or supplementation of baclofen dosing. Administration of other pharmacologic adjuncts may be required to effectively treat associated withdrawal symptoms. This narrative review provides an overview of the historical and emerging uses of baclofen, offers practical dosing recommendations for both oral and intrathecal routes of administration, and reviews the diagnosis and management of both baclofen toxicity and withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSAGE Open Medicine
Volume9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Baclofen
  • spasticity
  • toxicity
  • withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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