Is Baclofen a Controlled Substance
Baclofen, sold under the brand name Lioresal, is used to treat muscle spasticities like multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury. The medication was approved for medical use in 1977 in the US. The drug works by decreasing levels of neurotransmitters. It can be administered orally or by releasing the drug into the spinal cord. Baclofen is available as a generic medication. In 2018, Baclofen was the 122nd most frequently prescribed drug in the US, with more than 5 million prescriptions. Baclofen has numerous off-label uses. The DEA classifies substances based on their potential abuse & authorized medical use. Although the number of cases associated with Baclofen abuse is increasing according to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), Baclofen is not on the list of controlled substances. It can be acquired only with a valid prescription.

Is Baclofen a Narcotic?

Is Baclofen a narcotic

Narcotics is a class of drugs that share common effects, including psychoactive effects on behavior or mood. Narcotics include prescription medication as well as illegal drugs. In many cases, the term narcotic can refer to opioid drugs.

Baclofen relieves pain related to muscle stiffness, and it does so contrarily as narcotic painkillers or opioid analgesics. Hence, according to FDA, Baclofen is not categorized as a narcotic. In recent years, narcotics have been in the limelight worldwide since they cause dependence and addiction. Even in patients prescribed opioids for pain relief, there is a possibility of addiction. When a healthcare physician prescribes Baclofen, it’s natural for the patient to know if it is a narcotic, as it has the potential of habit-forming & side effects.

What are the Side Effects of Baclofen?

Baclofen is not a narcotic, but it is associated with specific side effects. The medication starts working within a few hours after administration. According to a research study, in pre & post clinical trials, the most commonly observed side effects related to the use of Baclofen were- 
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
Some of the long-term side effects associated with Baclofen- Individuals with multiple sclerosis need to use the medication for years. However, long-term use of the drug improves the quality of life but may also cause unwanted side effects. This might include-
  • Impaired memory
  • Learning problems
  • Increased fatigue
  • Muscle weakness

Severe side effects associated with Baclofen includes-

Mild side effects may not require medical assessment as they generally pass away on their own. Conversely, there are certain possible side effects that can cause serious complications and this might include-

  • Chest pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Severe mood changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Muscle cramping
  • Inability to pass urine
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Blurred or double vision

This might be not a complete list of side effects, however, if an individual experience any of the symptoms, should immediately seek help from a medical professional. Suddenly discontinuing the medication may cause withdrawal symptoms, and it can be fatal. It is always advised to consult healthcare professionals & get recommendations about quitting the drug.

Can you get High on Baclofen?

Baclofen is an antispastic & muscle relaxant, derived from Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is efficient in constraining both polysynaptic & monosynaptic reflexes at the spinal level, probably by hyperpolarization of afferent terminals. At the same time, actions at supraspinal may occur and promote its clinical effect. However, Baclofen does not have any significance.

At very high doses, it is possible that an individual may feel similar effects to narcotics. However, a baclofen overdose can also occur when the medication is used recreationally. There is a possibility that a person could abuse Baclofen recreationally either by consuming it at relatively high doses or using it in combination with other substances to intensify its effects.
It is critical to amalgam the drug with other drugs that affect the CNS, including opioids, alcohol, sleeping aids, muscle relaxers, or specific vitamins. It could amplify the side effects like dizziness or drowsiness and can make you high.

Conclusion

Healthcare workers and nurse practitioners who prescribe Baclofen are supposed to educate the patient on using this drug safely. Baclofen works best as a muscle relaxant, but its use is limited for managing lower back pain. Avoid combining the medication with sedatives, narcotics, or hypnotics. Do not quit baclofen without consulting your medical health professional, as you may experience withdrawal symptoms. If you face any of the symptoms or side effects of the drug, seek immediate medical help.

  1. Merino, M., Peris‐Ribera, J.E., Torres‐Molina, F., Sánchez‐Picó, A., Garćia‐Carbonell, M.C., Casabó, V.G., Martín‐Villodre, A. and Plá‐Delfina, J.M., 1989. Evidence of a specialized transport mechanism for the intestinal absorption of baclofen. Biopharmaceutics & drug disposition10(3), pp.279-297. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/bdd.2510100307 Accessed on 28/09/2021
  2. Gorsane, M.A., Kebir, O., Hache, G., Blecha, L., Aubin, H.J., Reynaud, M. and Benyamina, A., 2012. Is baclofen a revolutionary medication in alcohol addiction management? Review and recent updates. Substance abuse33(4), pp.336-349. Available at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08897077.2012.663326 Accessed on 28/09/2021

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