What are Baclofen Side Effects in Adults and Elderly Patients?

Last Updated: December 18, 2019

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Baclofen side effects in adults are well-discovered since the medicine was found in the 1960s. Patients must know that, based on its history of use, the majority of Baclofen side effects can be managed. Any of Baclofen adverse effects that may be experienced stops almost as soon as the intake is gradually discontinued.

What Lioresal Side Effects Can be Expected?

Lioresal or Kemstro, a brand names of Baclofen, is generally indicated for treating muscle spasm and other musculoskeletal pains, acting as a muscle relaxant. Listed below are the most commonly reported side effects of Baclofen whether it is taken orally, applied topically or administered intrathecally.


Neuropsychiatric Baclofen side effects in elderly as well as in younger adults commonly include the following:

  • Drowsiness Woman is experiencing Baclofen side effects
  • nausea
  • feeling of weakness
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • confusion

Effects of Lioresal on sleep may aggravate these symptoms. Sometimes, when taken in high doses, the drug may cause Baclofen euphoria in some patients. The euphoria from this drug can appear in extreme drowsiness and feeling of relaxation.


Kemstro may cause considerable changes in weight that may exert increased pressure on the heart and veins. Any combination of the following conditions may exacerbate symptoms of side effects: Pressure measurement in elderly men

  • heart palpitations
  • hypertension
  • hypotension
  • low blood pressure
  • feelings of tiredness, nervousness or, excitement


Among the more common side effects of Baclofen related to this aspect are as follows:

  • Nausea
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite

Genitourinary Side Effects

Among the side effects of Baclofen from 10 mg and up include urinary incontinence and urinary retention, which causes frequent trips to the toilet. Among both women and men, decreased libido and sexual dysfunction have been reported. It is known to cause erectile dysfunction and abnormal ejaculation among men.
With Baclofen 20 mg, side effects may take less time to become felt. More intense and persistent symptoms of Baclofen side effects may also be observed, especially when dosage has been increased abruptly, not allowing the body to adjust it properly.

Uncommon Adverse Effects of Using Baclofen

There are several less common side effects of Baclofen which can signal that Baclofen max dose has been reached or, that there may be other unknown contraindications. In some cases, some people are not receptive to medicine.
Among the less common Baclofen side effects are as follows:

  • Numbness felt on the extremities. A tingling sensation on the hands and feet may become noticeable. The ankles may become swollen.
  • Muscle stiffness. As a muscle relaxer, Baclofen may also cause muscle weakness and stiffness, most especially in the lower extremities.
  • Blurred vision. Some patients may experience sudden and temporary loss of vision. This is one of several Baclofen adverse effects that may be experienced during an overdose.
  • Seizures. Another common Lioresal side effect due to overdose is experiencing seizures. This may be accompanied by violent and uncontrollable shaking, stiffening, loss of bladder control, and possibly loss of consciousness.
  • Difficulty breathing. Some people may experience gasping for air. Difficulty breathing may be experienced alongside feelings of fatigue.

Does Baclofen Cause Weight Gain?

Woman is experiencing Baclofen weight gainSome patients may have experienced Baclofen side effects on weight gain. However, studies that have examined claims involving Baclofen weight gain provide evidence on the contrary. Two studies, in particular, have demonstrated that weight loss is a desirable adverse effect of Baclofen.

Weight Loss on Lioresal

Baclofen weight loss is possible due to appetite suppression. This was figured out according to the study published in The Frontiers in Psychology in 2013. Another study published in The Journal of Behavioral Pharmacology in 2012 provides more perspective. The researchers concluded that weight loss is a possible side effect. They add that Lioresal suppresses a person’s cravings for pure fat, but does not help regulate binge eating on foods containing high amounts of sugar.

Baclofen Side Effects During Addiction Treatment

Off-label, Lioresal is also used for the treatment of AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder) and opioids addiction. When used for addiction treatment, Baclofen side effects outweigh the risks, especially in consideration of the detrimental effects of addiction to a patient’s health, quality of relationships, productivity, and general well-being over the long term. Baclofen 10 mg side effects can be expected as with higher doses.
How does Baclofen work in treating addiction? In a two-year study that sought to find out whether or not taking Kemstro could help suppress alcohol dependence among 100 patients, the researchers found that gradual dosage escalation helped patients to overcome alcoholism. The researchers did note “potential limitations” to the use of Baclofen for treating AUD, which includes the lack of genuine motivation to stop dependence on the part of the patient, use of and interaction with psychotropic drugs, presence of a mental condition, and experience of extreme Baclofen side effects.

Why Baclofen Adverse Effects May Occur?

There are several reasons why one or more either common or rare side effects of Baclofen may manifest. These reasons include the following:

Demographics and Health Status

Age and gender are of particular importance, so as a patient’s overall health and well-being. Some patients may be unreceptive to medication.

Interaction With Other Drugs

Presence of contraindicated conditions, other drugs or substance interaction may be dangerous. Baclofen contraindications include head trauma, diabetes, and psychosis. These conditions are likely not known to the patient or, not disclosed to the attending physician at the time of administration. Interactions with a drug even with a similar mechanism of action, Flexeril for example, are also unadvised.

Drug Misuse or Abuse

Although Lioresal has become widely accepted as a treatment for substance dependency, Baclofen side effects that involve calming effects that might make it addictive have been documented.
In a 2017 study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience, researchers describe symptoms of dependence had developed in a man using Lioresal. The patient has been diagnosed with co-morbid major depressive disorder and found that Kemstro helps to improve his mood. The man eventually abused the medicine. The researchers warned that the mood-enhancing effect of Lioresal might make it addictive most especially when contraindications are present. Drug abuse may lead to an overdose of Baclofen as well.

Abrupt Dosage Increase

A sudden increase in dosage or sudden withdrawal may harm a patient’s health. As side effects of Baclofen, several neuropsychiatric conditions may be caused by any sudden elevation or withdrawal from the drug. Such conditions may lead to extreme confusion, lack of focus and concentration, psychosis, convulsion, and violent seizures. Patients must know how long does Baclofen last in their system to avoid accidental overdose.

Practical Advice on How to Avoid Baclofen Adverse Effects

Older man is reading about BaclofenWhen Lioresal has been prescribed to a patient, the attending physician has concluded that the benefits outweigh the risks, including possibly experiencing the adverse effects. It is essential for utmost care to be practiced from diagnosis, intake to post-treatment care to ensure proper management of Baclofen side effects and even avoid these where possible.
Below are practical tips that can help patients avoid or minimize side effects:

  • Where contraindications are present, alternatives to Lioresal should be seriously considered.
  • Proper dosing must be observed, and the drug must only be taken as prescribed by the physician.
  • Being a controlled substance, available only with a prescription, Baclofen has a value on the market and may be sold by not licensed dealers. Drugs bought from such dealers may me be placebo or even harm patient health seriously.
  • Use Gablofen only as prescribed. Baclofen is approved for oral and intrathecal administration only. Other ways of taking Lioresal are prohibited, because they  may increase the severity of the side effects.
  • Baclofen and Gabapentin are known to intensify these symptoms when combined, so don’t take different muscle relaxers at once.
  • Gradually increase or decrease dosage and withdraw from the drug with the guidance of a qualified medical professional.

Page Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3793279/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291953/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3540966/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426491/

Published on: March 4th, 2019

Updated on: December 18th, 2019

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.


Leave a comment

  • Sharon schwaderer
    I gained 4lbs.in a few weeks plus elevated BP after several doses 150/90+. I also am bloated with swelling in legs, hands and face. I also have restricted breathing because fluid I believe. However it’s the best muscle relaxer for my condition. I have to deal with the less side common side effects….
  • Rhonda Kennedy
    I was suffering after having Toupet Fundoplication, couldn’t even get water down I was in severe pain, the doctor prescribed a liquid 5 mg of this medication (Baclofen)and it has been a miracle for me !
  • Linda Trisdale
    I have gained 30 pounds since I started Baclofen 8 months ago. Also my blood pressure is up 140/80 , which is not normal for me . My blood pressure usually runs low 110/65 . I also have so much swelling and stiffness in my hands ,arms, and legs ,feet. I started taking Baclofen for muscle spasms in my back. The medication helped some , but didn’t stop the spasms from coming back in a short time span of hour. So I am going to ask my doctor to take me off of Baclofen. Too many side effects!!