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Baclofen vs. Antabuse

Reviewed on 5/20/2019

Are Baclofen and Antabuse the Same Thing?

Baclofen and Antabuse (disulfiram) are used to treat alcoholism.

Baclofen is used off-label to treat alcohol addiction. Baclofen is primarily used for treating spasm of skeletal muscles, muscle clonus, rigidity, and pain caused by multiple sclerosis. Baclofen is also injected into the spinal cord to treat severe spasticity, spinal cord injuries, and other spinal cord diseases.

Brand names for baclofen include Lioresal and Gablofen.

Baclofen and Antabuse belong to different drug classes. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant and antispastic and Antabuse is an alcohol antagonist drug.

Side effects of baclofen and Antabuse that are similar include drowsiness, tiredness, and headache.

Side effects of baclofen that are different from Antabuse include weakness, dizziness, seizures, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, constipation, confusion, respiratory depression, trouble sleeping (insomnia), and increased urinary frequency or urinary retention.

Side effects of Antabuse that are different from baclofen include metallic or garlic-like taste in the mouth, skin rash or acne, impotence, and swollen or sore tongue.

Both baclofen and Antabuse may interact with alcohol and other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing (sleeping pills, narcotics, prescription cough medicines, muscle relaxers, or medicines for anxiety, depression, or seizures).

Antabuse may also interact with isoniazid, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), warfarin, metronidazole, theophylline, or lithium.

Abrupt discontinuation of baclofen may cause withdrawal symptoms including seizures and hallucinations, high fever, rebound spasticity, muscle rigidity, and rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown and wasting).

Brand names for baclofen include Gablofen and Lioresal.

What Are Possible Side Effects of Baclofen?

Common side effects of Baclofen include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Forgetfulness or amnesia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Skin rash

What Are Possible Side Effects of Antabuse?

Common side effects of Antabuse include:

  • drowsiness,
  • tiredness,
  • headache,
  • metallic or garlic-like taste in the mouth,
  • skin rash or acne,
  • impotence, and
  • swollen or sore tongue.

Tell your doctor if you have a unlikely but serious side effects of Antabuse including:

  • vision changes,
  • numbness or tingling of arms and legs,
  • muscle weakness,
  • mental/mood changes (e.g., agitation, extreme excitement/confusion), or
  • seizures.

What Is Baclofen?

Baclofen (lorazepam) is indicated for the management of anxiety disorders or for the short-term relief of the symptoms of anxiety or anxiety associated with depressive symptoms.

What Is Antabuse?

Antabuse (disulfiram) is an alcohol antagonist drug used to treat chronic alcoholism. Antabuse is available in generic form.

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What Drugs Interact With Baclofen?

Benzodiazepines like Baclofen produce increased CNS (central nervous system) depressant effects when administered with other CNS depressants such as alcohol, barbiturates, antipsychotics, sedative/hypnotics, anxiolytics, antidepressants, narcotic analgesics, sedative antihistamines, anticonvulsants, and anesthetics.

What Drugs Interact With Antabuse?

Antabuse may interact with isoniazid, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants, warfarin, metronidazole, theophylline, phenytoin, or lithium. Tell your doctor all medications you are taking. During pregnancy, Antabuse should be used only when prescribed.

How Should Baclofen Be Taken?

Baclofen can be taken with or without food. Baclofen tablets should be swallowed with water.

How Should Antabuse Be Taken?

In the first phase of treatment, a maximum of 500 mg of Antabuse daily is given in a single dose for one to two weeks. The average maintenance dose of Antabuse is 250 mg daily (range, 125 to 500 mg), not to exceed 500 mg daily. Do not drink alcohol and avoid all alcohol-containing products (e.g., cough and cold syrups, mouthwash, or foods containing alcohol) while taking this medication.

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References
Novartis. Baclofen Product Information.

http://www.ask.novartispharma.ca/download.htm?res=lioresal_scrip_e.pdf&resTitleId=802

DailyMed. Antabuse Product Information.

https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=12850de3-c97c-42c1-b8d3-55dc6fd05750

Novartis. Baclofen Product Information.

http://www.ask.novartispharma.ca/download.htm?res=lioresal_scrip_e.pdf&resTitleId=802

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