Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Baclofen may affect the mental or physical abilities needed to drive or operate machinery. Avoid driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous tasks until you have determined how this medication affects you.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. This occurs because baclofen is primarily removed from the body by the kidneys. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Medical conditions: People with certain types of bladder problems, history of seizures, psychiatric disorders, stomach ulcers, breathing problems, or liver problems, and seniors with cerebrovascular (disorder of the blood vessels supplying the brain) problems should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Withdrawal effects: If baclofen is suddenly stopped after regular use, withdrawal symptoms may occur, including:
- anxiety with racing heart and sweating
- hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that aren't there)
- insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- involuntary movements
- psychotic, manic, or paranoid states
- worsening of spasticity (loss of control of muscles)
Except when serious side effects occur, the dose should be reduced slowly when stopping the medication (over a period of approximately 1 to 2 weeks).
Pregnancy: The safe use of baclofen during pregnancy has not been established. Baclofen crosses the placental barrier and may affect the developing fetus. Babies born to women who have taken baclofen during pregnancy may experience withdrawal symptoms after birth. If you are or may become pregnant, speak to your doctor. This medication should be taken during pregnancy only when the potential benefits outweigh the possible risks.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking baclofen, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safe use of baclofen by children under the age of 12 years has not been established and is not recommended for use by this age group.
Seniors: People over the age of 65 are more likely to experience side effects of taking baclofen. Doses for seniors should generally be lower and increase more slowly than for other adults.