Baclofen (intrathecal)

BACLOFEN (INTRATHECAL)- baclofen injection
Emerald International Limited

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

Chemical Structure
(click image for full-size original)

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 (Intrathecal) 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 (Intrathecal) contains baclofen 50 mcg, 500 mcg or 2000 mcg and sodium chloride 8.8 mg in Water for Injection; pH range is 5.5–6.8. Each ampule is intended for SINGLE USE 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 (Intrathecal) 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)

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

Intrathecal baclofen’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.

No additional information is available for pediatric patients.

Pharmacokinetics of Baclofen Injection (Intrathecal)

The pharmacokinetics of CSF clearance of intrathecal baclofen 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 intrathecal baclofen 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 intrathecal baclofen 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 to 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 to 18 years) receiving continuous intrathecal baclofen infusion at doses of 77 to 400 mcg/day had plasma baclofen levels near or below 10 ng/mL.


Baclofen Injection (Intrathecal) 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 (Intrathecal) 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 (Intrathecal) 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 (Intrathecal) into the intrathecal space.

Spasticity of Spinal Cord Origin

Evidence supporting the efficacy of intrathecal baclofen was obtained in randomized, controlled investigations that compared the effects of either a single intrathecal dose or a three day intrathecal infusion of intrathecal baclofen to placebo in patients with severe spasticity and spasms due to either spinal cord trauma or multiple sclerosis. Intrathecal baclofen 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 intrathecal baclofen 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; intrathecal baclofen 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 (Intrathecal) therapy may be considered an alternative to destructive neurosurgical procedures. Prior to implantation of a device for chronic intrathecal infusion of Baclofen Injection (Intrathecal), patients must show a response to Baclofen Injection (Intrathecal) in a screening trial (see Dosage and Administration)


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


Baclofen Injection (Intrathecal) 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 (Intrathecal) is adequately evaluated. Evaluation (consisting of a screening procedure: see Dosage and Administration) requires that Baclofen Injection (Intrathecal) 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 (Intrathecal) 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.

All resources are included in as near-original form as possible, meaning that the information from the original provider has been rendered here with only typographical or stylistic modifications and not with any substantive alterations of content, meaning or intent.

This site is provided for educational and informational purposes only, in accordance with our Terms of Use, and is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor, nurse, nurse practitioner or other qualified health professional.

Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2021. All Rights Reserved.