Baclofen Interactions: Baclofen and Alcohol & Substances

Last Updated: May 28, 2021

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Reviewed by Michael Espelin APRN

Baclofen, also known under the brand names Lioresal and Gablofen, is widely used as an oral muscle relaxant for individuals struggling with spinal cord-related injuries and muscle spasms. Baclofen interactions are basically the reactions or effects of taking it with other drugs or while on different medications. Some of these reactions may be mild, but some can bring severe harm to patients’ health.

Learn about the dangers of mixing Baclofen and alcohol or other drugs and what interactions should be avoided.

Effects of Baclofen Alcohol Mix

Lioresal doesn’t just work to relax muscles; it “relaxes” the overall body. It activates neurotransmitters in the brain that lower/relax brain activity. In turn, the person feels more relaxed overall, and the effect doesn’t just go to the muscle in general. Drinking alcohol works the same way too. So, some people may end up using the medication to heighten the effects of alcohol, or vice versa.

However, that isn’t the only reason people mix Baclofen and alcohol. Oral Lioresal is often prescribed to people trying to quit alcohol because it can help with it. When they’re experiencing severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, Lioresal may be used to help. However, this makes some people think that they are doing just fine and may even be drinking more alcohol than usual without worrying about feeling a hangover or withdrawal symptoms the day after.

Unhappy depressed man sitting on the couch.

Since Lioresal has minimal abuse liability when used on its own, according to a study done in 2009, it makes people think it’s safe to mix it with alcohol, when in reality, the baclofen alcohol mix can be hazardous. Baclofen interaction with alcohol is not safe.

A 2018 review has even found that it shouldn’t be used as the first line of treatment for alcohol addiction/withdrawal symptoms because of the dangers the drug poses when mixed with alcohol. The help isn’t significant enough compared to the risk of side effects. The doctors should alter prescriptions to use more common treatment before resorting to this one.

Why Is It Dangerous?

It is very dangerous to mix any drug with drinking alcohol as it can be harmful. The same principle goes for Baclofen and alcohol, as combining both will double the depressant effects.

Since both of the substances, baclofen alcohol, dampen the nervous system, the person may end up feeling a multiplied effect of either when they’re taken together or mixed.

If a dose of Lioresal in a client’s system and alcohol will mix, it will heighten the adverse effects.

Mixing Both or the Abuse of the Substances Will Risk Causing Side Effects Such As: 

  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Impaired thinking
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Reduced motor skills because of muscle relaxing
  • Memory loss
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Light-headedness
  • Increased chances of getting a seizure
  • Depression of the central nervous system
  • Coma
  • Death

On top of these side effects, both baclofen alcohol can be potentially addictive. If the person continues to use them together or abuse the substances, they may risk getting an addiction to both.

There’s adequate information that oral Lioresal medication works as a muscle relaxant and for reducing alcohol cravings in patients. Although Lioresal provides a strong anxiolytic effect, there are other drugs that are made explicitly for treating such issues.

Other Interactions

Some drugs will cause moderate interactions with Baclofen medication, those that can be managed. But, at the same time, others may have major interactions where the person who’s been using the drug with something else like drinking alcohol can end up experiencing major side effects or overdose fairly quickly.

There is a list of some medications and substances that have been tested in combination with Lioresal and appeared as dangerous.

These Drugs Are:

Baclofen interactions happen with a wide range of other drugs and substances. Due to this, it’s essential that the people who use it give their doctor or medical health professional adequate information about everything they’ve been using so it’s clear what might be in their system already. And the users also need to have information about the potential dangers of misusing the drug. This will ensure that they don’t mix it with anything that could cause a moderate or major baclofen interaction.

Tramadol and Baclofen

Utilizing Tramadol and Baclofen together may lead to severe side effects such as going into a coma, respiratory difficulties, and even death. It is also known that the use of cough medications combined with other drugs or substances can lead to depression of the CNS.

Sad girl sitting on the couch looking away.

That is because both tramadol and Baclofen can cause a sedating effect. Therefore, the patient using Baclofen and tramadol might accidentally end up worsening the impact of both and cause adverse side effects. It is important because 63% of the patients who use Lioresal have reported that they feel sedated after taking it. Baclofen and tramadol can both have this same effect but multiply when taken together.

Lioresal With Other Opioids

Using opioid painkillers in combination with Lioresal is prohibited. Baclofen interactions with Vicodin, Norco, or Percocet can be hazardous. Combining such substances may result in severe side effects of both drugs or even cause coma or death. The FDA has even issued a warning against using drugs like Gablofen with other opioids because of the severe side effects and potential of death that come with this mix.

Gabapentin and Lioresal

Gabapentin, like Lioresal, was initially made to replace the use of traditional opioids. It was meant to be a lot safer and was not supposed to be addictive. It is an anti-seizure drug that should be safe if used on its own or with medications it doesn’t interact with. However, recent studies are starting to point out that it may not be “as safe” as it was thought to be.

A 2003 study on mice showed that there was dose-dependent inhibition during both phases in the formalin test. It also showed that the two together had addictive interactions. There are still studies that need to be done on humans to prove the safety (or dangers) of the drug’s use in humans, but from what the studies on mice show, it’s better to avoid mixing the two just in case.

Moderate Baclofen Interactions

This kind of baclofen interaction may cause mild health concerns such as Baclofen common side effects like dizziness and impaired thinking. Patients are advised to visit their doctors before combining drugs and substances mentioned below.

Lioresal and Xanax

Baclofen interaction with Xanax together might not result in death or coma, but it may increase the chances of experiencing ill health symptoms. Symptoms may include dizziness, concentration difficulties, drowsiness, and more. Operating heavy or dangerous machinery should be avoided when taking these medications.

Can one take Tylenol with Gablofen?

Clients must consult their doctors before taking Tylenol as using both together may cause a moderate interaction. Confusion, dizziness, inability to concentrate, drowsiness, and more can occur when both substances are taken together.

Can one take Ibuprofen with Gablofen?

Using Lioresal and Ibuprofen 800 can cause a moderate type of baclofen interactions between both prescriptions. Taking Ibuprofen and Lioresal may result in side effects in the elderly, ranging from impairment in judgment and thinking to coordination and motor skills problems. Usual moderate interactions result in drowsiness and dizziness.

Take Gablofen With Cautiousness

Even though the popular notion may be that Lioresal is a “safe” drug, people must use it with all of the correct information at hand. In addition, since several medicines and substances can interact with the drug, patients must consult their doctors or medical health professionals before taking any other medication with Lioresal. Taking an excessive dose of pills can lead to Lioresal overdose. This condition is risky and can result in severe adverse effects, including high blood pressure, hypothermia, and even coma.

Doctor talking to his patient explaining something.

Taking this medication can’t be stopped at any time as it may lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Stopping Baclofen is a gradual process, and clients must talk to their physicians before beginning the process. The patient should have adequate information on the doses they need to take to stop using it gradually. If the treatment is still necessary, a doctor may prescribe Flexeril as a Baclofen alternative, or other alternative medications. However, do not switch between medications, as only a doctor can make such decisions.

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Page Sources

  1. Evans SM, Bisaga A. Acute interaction of baclofen in combination with alcohol in heavy social drinkers. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2009;33(1):19-30. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2626149/
  2. Cooney, G., Heydtmann, M., & Smith, I. D. (2019). Baclofen and the Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome-A Short Review. Frontiers in psychiatry, 9, 773. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6349735/
  3. Baclofen, Label, U.S. Food and Drug Administration https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2019/208193s000lbl.pdf
  4. FDA Drug Safety Communication, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-drug-safety-communication-fda-warns-about-serious-risks-and-death-when-combining-opioid-pain-or
  5. Czuczwar, M., Kiś, J., Łuszczki, J., Turski, W. A., & Przesmycki, K. (2003). Evaluation of interaction between gabapentin and baclofen in the formalin test in mice. Polish journal of pharmacology, 55(5), 803–806. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14704478/

Published on: March 4th, 2019

Updated on: May 28th, 2021

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.

Medically Reviewed by

Michael Espelin APRN

8 years of nursing experience in wide variety of behavioral and addition settings that include adult inpatient and outpatient mental health services with substance use disorders, and geriatric long-term care and hospice care.  He has a particular interest in psychopharmacology, nutritional psychiatry, and alternative treatment options involving particular vitamins, dietary supplements, and administering auricular acupuncture.