Stiffness of muscles and spams are an outcome of spinal cord related medical conditions. Such conditions may occur due to multiple sclerosis, injuries sustained in your spinal cord or maladies associated with the spinal cord region. Your treating physician will administer drugs that fall under a class of medications known as muscle relaxants or skeletal muscle relaxing meds. Baclofen is a drug that belongs to this class. If you are breastfeeding or nursing a baby, you need to talk to your doctor as well as pharmacist about intake of this muscle relaxant.

Baclofen is an antispasmodic / muscle relaxing medicine. It is administered for the treatment of muscular pains, spasms or spasticity, stiffening of muscles due to injuries. It is taken orally or as a shot; the shot is given in your spinal cord. Spasms or pains are experienced when your nerves are excessively active; this drug calms down such overactive nerves and brings about needful relief. Dosages of this drug vary based on your age; for example, the dose can vary from 10 milligrams (mg) to 20 mg. In most cases, your doctor may start doses at a very low level – of say, 5 mg initially. The dosages are then gradually increased if your system does not trigger any adverse reactions or major side effects.

Some people may try to use baclofen for other uses such as back pain. You need to know that the food and drug administration (FDA) has not cleared this drug for other uses. However, as an off-label application, this drug is used for treating back pain and a few other categories of pains. The drug is effective on pains triggered by spasms or stiffness of muscles; hence, while used for other applications, this drug offers very limited use.

Can mothers nursing their baby take baclofen?

It is important to tell your treating doctor if you have any prior medical conditions. Though the drug is safe to use if you any hepatic conditions, people living with renal disorders, mental conditions (such as depression, bipolar disorders or schizophrenia), brain-related conditions including strokes, fits, convulsions, etc. need to inform their medial team about such conditions. It is important to tell your physician if you are pregnant or if you are planning to become pregnant. Women who are planning to become pregnant are advised to use needful contraceptive measures such as birth control pills, vaginal rings, skin patches or other hormonal meds to avoid pregnancies. Those who are already pregnant must stay away using baclofen. The key reason behind such precaution is – this drug may cause withdrawal symptoms in your newly born baby. Babies born to such mothers may experience convulsions, fits or seizures. Upon sensing any of these signs, you need to quickly provide medical care to your newly born baby without any delay.

Women who are breastfeeding or nursing their baby

The active ingredients of baclofen are likely to enter into mother’s milk. Hence, women who are breastfeeding need to keep their doctor updated about their lifestyle. Babies who feed on such milk may develop a few complications. In some cases, babies may not feed properly, cry incessantly or can be seen to be in a restless frame of mind.  It is essential to seek needful care and attention to your baby upon noticing one or more of these discomforts.

Other precautions to be taken while administering baclofen

Women who take baclofen may turn dizzy and have a confused state of mind. It is not safe to do activities that need a high level of mental concentration and focus. For instance, never operate heavy machines or perform tasks like driving, etc. It is extremely unsafe to drink alcohol or take any other intoxicants while using baclofen. Intake of alcohol or cannabis / marijuana is likely to lead to excessive levels of dizziness; for example, elders may experience falls upon taking this drug with intoxicants like alcohol.

As an extended safety measure, breastfeeding women are advised to be cautious about intake of cough or cold relieving meds. Drugs under this category – especially, those like hydrocodone, codeine, etc., anxiety-reducers such as lorazepam or alprazolam may need to be taken under the guidance or supervision of a qualified medical practitioner.

Overdose of baclofen and the likely risks

In general, elders and younger adults are likely to be more sensitive to this drug. Among such users, added care is needed to avoid instances of overdose. Overdose can also occur when you have skipped a dose, and you consume a double dose of baclofen to make up for the dose you forgot to take. This is not a safe practice. Upon missing a dose, and when your next dose is already coming up, it is advised to skip the dose you forgot. Instead, take the next dose as usual.

Those who took a double dose or an overdose are likely to experience acute spells of dizziness, severe episodes of drowsiness, respiratory problems such as wheezing, gasping or shortened cycles of breath, etc. In some rare instances, overdosed elders have witnessed seizures, fits and convulsions; in some, vomiting, severe nausea and other abdominal problems are noticed. Upon sensing any one or more of these adverse side effects, you are advised to call 911 (in the US) or reach out to a poison control center nearer to where you live.

In sum, women who are pregnant or those who are aiming to get pregnant must also stay away from baclofen or a few other types of muscle relaxants. You need to know that baclofen is likely to get into mother’s milk. Babies who feed on such milk may cry incessantly or develop a restless state of mind. Hence, women who have recently delivered a baby need to keep their treating physician updated if they have a newly born, breastfeeding baby. Above all, it is important to seek needful clinical care and medical attention on an emergency basis if your newly born baby develops one or more of these adverse side effects.

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