Skip to content

Multiple Sclerosis Health Center

Select An Article

Multiple Sclerosis and Baclofen Therapy

Font Size

Baclofen (Gablofen, Lioresal) is a medication that treats stiff muscles and spasms, a condition called spasticity, that can happen to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other nerve diseases.

Normally, your muscles get electrical signals from your nerves that tell them when to tense and relax. Spasticity happens when these signals become uneven, usually because the nerves have been damaged. This makes muscles tense up or move when you don’t want them to. Baclofen works by restoring the normal signals. It can help you move your muscles more normally.

Recommended Related to Multiple Sclerosis

8 Ways to Live Better With MS

Managing your life with MS isn't just about dealing with the symptoms you have right now. It's about thinking through what could happen in future -- the possible effects on your job, family, and finances -- and preparing for them. Even if your symptoms are mild, planning can make you feel better and be more confident in your future. "It's not bad luck to think about what you might do if your symptoms got worse," says Rosalind Kalb, PhD, a clinical psychologist and vice president of clinical care...

Read the 8 Ways to Live Better With MS article > >

What Are the Side Effects of Baclofen?

Side effects may include:

What Is Intrathecal Baclofen?

You can take baclofen as a pill or get it directly into an area of your spine called the intrathecal space. This part of your body is filled with the fluid that surrounds your spinal cord and nerve roots.

This type of treatment, called intrathecal baclofen (ITB), can help people who have a hard time with side effects of the pill form. It delivers the drug right to the spinal cord, so it doesn’t circulate throughout the body first. You need only tiny doses for the drug to work. This keeps side effects to a minimum.

What Is the Intrathecal Baclofen Pump System?

Doctors use a pump system to deliver baclofen directly into the spinal fluid. It’s made of a catheter (a small, flexible tube) and a pump. A surgeon puts the device -- a round metal disc, about 1 inch thick and 3 inches around -- under the skin of your belly near your waistline.

The pump stores and releases the right amount of medicine through the catheter. A tiny motor moves the medication from the pump through the catheter. Your treatment team can use a small computer outside your body to send messages to the pump and make adjustments in the dose, rate, and timing of the medication. You can also turn the system off when you don’t need it.

People with the pump must go back to their doctor's office for pump refills and medication adjustments, typically every 1 to 3 months. At the end of the battery's life span (usually 5 to 7 years), your doctor will remove and replace the system.

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

nerve damage
Learn how this disease affects the nervous system.
woman applying lotion
Ideas on how to boost your mood and self-esteem.
 
woman pondering
Get personalized treatment options.
man with hand over eye
Be on the lookout for these symptoms.
 
brain scan
ARTICLE
worried woman
ARTICLE
 
neural fiber
ARTICLE
white blood cells
VIDEO
 
sunlight in hands
ARTICLE
marijuana plant
ARTICLE
 
muscle spasm
ARTICLE
Neuron
ARTICLE