BACLOFEN- baclofen injection
MAlA Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Abrupt discontinuation of intrathecal baclofen, regardless of the cause, has resulted in sequelae that include high fever, altered mental status, exaggerated rebound spasticity, and muscle rigidity, that in rare cases has advanced to rhabdomyolysis, multiple organ-system failure and death.

Prevention of abrupt discontinuation of intrathecal baclofen requires careful attention to programming and monitoring of the infusion system, refill scheduling and procedures, and pump alarms. Patients and caregivers should be advised of the importance of keeping scheduled refill visits and should be educated on the early symptoms of baclofen withdrawal. Special attention should be given to patients at apparent risk (e.g. spinal cord injuries at T-6 or above, communication difficulties, history of withdrawal symptoms from oral or intrathecal baclofen). Consult the technical manual of the implantable infusion system for additional postimplant clinician and patient information (see WARNINGS).


Baclofen Injection is a muscle relaxant and antispastic. Its chemical name is 4-amino-3-(4-chlorophenyl) butanoic acid, and its structural formula is:

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Baclofen is a white to off-white, odorless or practically odorless crystalline powder, with a molecular weight of 213.66. It is slightly soluble in water, very slightly soluble in methanol, and insoluble in chloroform.

Baclofen Injection is a sterile, pyrogen-free, isotonic solution free of antioxidants, preservatives or other potentially neurotoxic additives indicated only for intrathecal administration. The drug is stable in solution at 37° C and compatible with CSF. Each milliliter of Baclofen Injection contains baclofen USP, 50 mcg and sodium chloride 9 mg in Water for Injection; pH range is 5.0 ­ 7.0. Each prefilled syringe is intended for SINGLE DOSE ONLY. Discard any unused portion. DO NOT AUTOCLAVE.


The precise mechanism of action of baclofen as a muscle relaxant and antispasticity agent is not fully understood. Baclofen inhibits both monosynaptic and polysynaptic reflexes at the spinal level, possibly by decreasing excitatory neurotransmitter release from primary afferent terminals, although actions at supraspinal sites may also occur and contribute to its clinical effect. Baclofen is a structural analog of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and may exert its effects by stimulation of the GABAB receptor subtype.

Baclofen Injection when introduced directly into the intrathecal space permits effective CSF concentrations to be achieved with resultant plasma concentrations 100 times less than those occurring with oral administration.

In people, as well as in animals, baclofen has been shown to have general CNS depressant properties as indicated by the production of sedation with tolerance, somnolence, ataxia, and respiratory and cardiovascular depression.

Pharmacodynamics of Baclofen Injection:

Intrathecal Bolus:

Adult Patients: The onset of action is generally one-half hour to one hour after an intrathecal bolus. Peak spasmolytic effect is seen at approximately four hours after dosing and effects may last four to eight hours. Onset, peak response, and duration of action may vary with individual patients depending on the dose and severity of symptoms.

Pediatric Patients: The onset, peak response and duration of action is similar to those seen in adult patients.

Continuous Infusion:

Baclofen Injection’s antispastic action is first seen at 6 to 8 hours after initiation of continuous infusion. Maximum activity is observed in 24 to 48 hours.

Continuous Infusion: No additional information is available for pediatric patients.

Pharmacokinetics of Baclofen Injection:

The pharmacokinetics of CSF clearance of Baclofen Injection calculated from intrathecal bolus or continuous infusion studies approximates CSF turnover, suggesting elimination is by bulk-flow removal of CSF.

Intrathecal Bolus: After a bolus lumbar injection of 50 or 100 mcg Baclofen Injection in seven patients, the average CSF elimination half-life was 1.51 hours over the first four hours and the average CSF clearance was approximately 30 mL/hour.

Continuous Infusion: The mean CSF clearance for Baclofen Injection was approximately 30 mL/hour in a study involving ten patients on continuous intrathecal infusion.

Concurrent plasma concentrations of baclofen during intrathecal administration are expected to be low (0­ 5 ng/mL).

Limited pharmacokinetic data suggest that a lumbar-cisternal concentration gradient of about 4:1 is established along the neuroaxis during baclofen infusion. This is based upon simultaneous CSF sampling via cisternal and lumbar tap in 5 patients receiving continuous baclofen infusion at the lumbar level at doses associated with therapeutic efficacy; the interpatient variability was great. The gradient was not altered by position.

Six pediatric patients (age 8-18 years) receiving continuous intrathecal baclofen infusion at doses of 77-400 mcg/day had plasma baclofen levels near or below 10 ng/mL.


Baclofen Injection is indicated for use in the management of severe spasticity. Patients should first respond to a screening dose of intrathecal baclofen prior to consideration for long term infusion via an implantable pump. For spasticity of spinal cord origin, chronic infusion of Baclofen Injection via an implantable pump should be reserved for patients unresponsive to oral baclofen therapy, or those who experience intolerable CNS side effects at effective doses. Patients with spasticity due to traumatic brain injury should wait at least one year after the injury before consideration of long term intrathecal baclofen therapy. Baclofen Injection is intended for use by the intrathecal route in single bolus test doses (via spinal catheter or lumbar puncture) and, for chronic use, only in implantable pumps approved by the FDA specifically for the administration of Baclofen Injection into the intrathecal space.

Spasticity of Spinal Cord Origin: Evidence supporting the efficacy of Baclofen Injection was obtained in randomized, controlled investigations that compared the effects of either a single intrathecal dose or a three day intrathecal infusion of Baclofen Injection to placebo in patients with severe spasticity and spasms due to either spinal cord trauma or multiple sclerosis. Baclofen Injection was superior to placebo on both principal outcome measures employed: change from baseline in the Ashworth rating of spasticity and the frequency of spasms.

Spasticity of Cerebral Origin: The efficacy of Baclofen Injection was investigated in three controlled clinical trials; two enrolled patients with cerebral palsy and one enrolled patients with spasticity due to previous brain injury. The first study, a randomized controlled cross-over trial of 51 patients with cerebral palsy, provided strong, statistically significant results; Baclofen Injection was superior to placebo in reducing spasticity as measured by the Ashworth Scale. A second cross-over study was conducted in 11 patients with spasticity arising from brain injury. Despite the small sample size, the study yielded a nearly significant test statistic (p= 0.066) and provided directionally favorable results. The last study, however, did not provide data that could be reliably analyzed.

Baclofen Injection therapy may be considered an alternative to destructive neurosurgical procedures. Prior to implantation of a device for chronic intrathecal infusion of Baclofen Injection, patients must show a response to Baclofen Injection in a screening trial (see Dosage and Administration).


Hypersensitivity to baclofen. Baclofen Injection is not recommended for intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous or epidural administration.


Baclofen Injection is for use in single bolus intrathecal injections (via a catheter placed in the lumbar intrathecal space or injection by lumbar puncture) and in implantable pumps approved by the FDA specifically for the intrathecal administration of baclofen. Because of the possibility of potentially life- threatening CNS depression, cardiovascular collapse, and/or respiratory failure, physicians must be adequately trained and educated in chronic intrathecal infusion therapy.

The pump system should not be implanted until the patient’s response to bolus Baclofen Injection is adequately evaluated. Evaluation (consisting of a screening procedure: see Dosage and Administration) requires that Baclofen Injection be administered into the intrathecal space via a catheter or lumbar puncture. Because of the risks associated with the screening procedure and the adjustment of dosage following pump implantation, these phases must be conducted in a medically supervised and adequately equipped environment following the instructions outlined in the Dosage and Administration section.

Resuscitative equipment should be available.

Following surgical implantation of the pump, particularly during the initial phases of pump use, the patient should be monitored closely until it is certain that the patient’s response to the infusion is acceptable and reasonably stable.

On each occasion that the dosing rate of the pump and/or the concentration of Baclofen Injection in the reservoir is adjusted, close medical monitoring is required until it is certain that the patient’s response to the infusion is acceptable and reasonably stable.

It is mandatory that the patient, all patient caregivers, and the physicians responsible for the patient receive adequate information regarding the risks of this mode of treatment. All medical personnel and caregivers should be instructed in 1) the signs and symptoms of overdose, 2) procedures to be followed in the event of overdose and 3) proper home care of the pump and insertion site.

Potential for Contamination due to Non-sterile External Surface of 50 mcg/mL Prefilled Syringe: Although the drug solution and drug pathway in the Baclofen Injection 50 mcg/mL prefilled syringe are sterile, the external surface of the prefilled syringe is not sterile. This has the potential to lead to contamination and consequent adverse reactions. The use of Baclofen Injection 50 mcg/mL prefilled syringe to refill an intrathecal baclofen pump, or use in an aseptic setting (e.g., operating room) to fill sterile intrathecal pumps prior to implantation in patients is not recommended. Procedures should be put in place to avoid contamination of sterile surfaces through contact with the non-sterile exterior of the Baclofen Injection 50 mcg/mL prefilled syringe when performing the test dose procedure (See Preparation Instruction: Screening).

Overdose: Signs of overdose may appear suddenly or insidiously. Acute massive overdose may present as coma. Less sudden and/or less severe forms of overdose may present with signs of drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, somnolence, respiratory depression, seizures, rostral

progression of hypotonia and loss of consciousness progressing to coma. Should overdose appear likely, the patient should be taken immediately to a hospital for assessment and emptying of the pump reservoir. In cases reported to date, overdose has generally been related to pump malfunction, inadvertent subcutaneous injection, or dosing error. (See Drug Overdose Symptoms and Treatment.)

Extreme caution must be used when filling an FDA approved implantable pump. Such pumps should only be refilled through the reservoir refill septum. Inadvertent injection into the subcutaneous tissue can occur if the reservoir refill septum is not properly accessed. Some pumps are also equipped with a catheter access port that allows direct access to the intrathecal catheter. Direct injection into this catheter access port or inadvertent injection into the subcutaneous tissue may cause a life-threatening overdose.

Withdrawal: Abrupt withdrawal of intrathecal baclofen, regardless of the cause, has resulted in sequelae that included high fever, altered mental status, exaggerated rebound spasticity and muscle rigidity that in rare cases progressed to rhabdomyolysis, multiple organ-system failure, and death. In the first 9 years of post-marketing experience, 27 cases of withdrawal temporally related to the cessation of baclofen therapy were reported; six patients died. In most cases, symptoms of withdrawal appeared within hours to a few days following interruption of baclofen therapy. Common reasons for abrupt interruption of intrathecal baclofen therapy included malfunction of the catheter (especially disconnection), low volume in the pump reservoir, and end of pump battery life; human error may have played a causal or contributing role in some cases. Cases of intrathecal mass at the tip of the implanted catheter leading to withdrawal symptoms have also been reported, most of them involving pharmacy compounded analgesic admixtures (see PRECAUTIONS).

Prevention of abrupt discontinuation of intrathecal baclofen requires careful attention to programming and monitoring of the infusion system, refill scheduling and procedures, and pump alarms. Patients and caregivers should be advised of the importance of keeping scheduled refill visits and should be educated on the early symptoms of baclofen withdrawal.

All patients receiving intrathecal baclofen therapy are potentially at risk for withdrawal. Early symptoms of baclofen withdrawal may include return of baseline spasticity, pruritus, hypotension, and paresthesias. Priapism may develop or recur if treatment with intrathecal baclofen is interrupted. Some clinical characteristics of the advanced intrathecal baclofen withdrawal syndrome may resemble autonomic dysreflexia, infection (sepsis), malignant hyperthermia, neuroleptic-malignant syndrome, or other conditions associated with a hypermetabolic state or widespread rhabdomyolysis.

Rapid, accurate diagnosis and treatment in an emergency-room or intensive-care setting are important in order to prevent the potentially life-threatening central nervous system and systemic effects of intrathecal baclofen withdrawal. The suggested treatment for intrathecal baclofen withdrawal is the restoration of intrathecal baclofen at or near the same dosage as before therapy was interrupted.

However, if restoration of intrathecal delivery is delayed, treatment with GABA-ergic agonist drugs such as oral or enteral baclofen, or oral, enteral, or intravenous benzodiazepines may prevent potentially fatal sequelae. Oral or enteral baclofen alone should not be relied upon to halt the progression of intrathecal baclofen withdrawal.

Seizures have been reported during overdose and with withdrawal from Baclofen Injection as well as in patients maintained on therapeutic doses of Baclofen Injection.


Spasticity of Spinal Cord Origin: There were 16 deaths reported among the 576 U.S. patients treated with Baclofen Injection in pre- and post- marketing studies evaluated as of December 1992. Because these patients were treated under uncontrolled clinical settings, it is impossible to determine definitively what role, if any, Baclofen Injection played in their deaths.

As a group, the patients who died were relatively young (mean age was 47 with a range from 25 to 63), but the majority suffered from severe spasticity of many years duration, were nonambulatory, had various medical complications such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and decubiti, and/or had received multiple concomitant medications. A case-by-case review of the clinical course of the 16 patients who died failed to reveal any unique signs, symptoms, or laboratory results that would suggest that treatment with Baclofen Injection caused their deaths. Two patients, however, did suffer sudden and unexpected death within 2 weeks of pump implantation and one patient died unexpectedly after screening.

One patient, a 44 year-old male with MS, died in hospital on the second day following pump implantation. An autopsy demonstrated severe fibrosis of the coronary conduction system. A second patient, a 52 year-old woman with MS and a history of an inferior wall myocardial infarction, was found dead in bed 12 days after pump implantation, 2 hours after having had documented normal vital signs. An autopsy revealed pulmonary congestion and bilateral pleural effusions. It is impossible to determine whether Baclofen Injection contributed to these deaths. The third patient underwent three baclofen screening trials. His medical history included SCI, aspiration pneumonia, septic shock, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, severe metabolic acidosis, hepatic toxicity, and status epilepticus. Twelve days after screening (he was not implanted), he again experienced status epilepticus with subsequent significant neurological deterioration. Based upon prior instruction, extraordinary resuscitative measures were not pursued and the patient died.

Spasticity of Cerebral Origin: There were three deaths occurring among the 211 patients treated with Baclofen Injection in pre- marketing studies as of March 1996. These deaths were not attributed to the therapy.

Overinfusion: Delivery of more drug volume than the programmed rate (overinfusion) can result in unexpected overdose, or withdrawal caused by early emptying of the pump reservoir. Refer to the manufacturer’s pump manual and instructions for refilling the reservoir.

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