A Randomized Dose Escalation Study of Intravenous Baclofen in Healthy Volunteers: Clinical Tolerance and Pharmacokinetics

Natalie S. Schmitz, Linda E. Krach, Lisa D. Coles, Usha Mishra, Suresh K. Agarwal, James C. Cloyd, Robert L. Kriel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background Abrupt discontinuation of baclofen can result in a potentially severe withdrawal syndrome. The current treatment for baclofen withdrawal is inadequate, resulting in a critical need to develop an alternative method to prevent or treat this withdrawal syndrome. Objective To evaluate the safety profile and pharmacokinetics of oral (PO) and investigational intravenous (IV) baclofen formulations at clinically relevant doses. Design Randomized, open-label, dose-escalation, crossover study. Setting Contract Research Organization (CRO). Methods Three cohorts of 12 healthy adults received single doses of PO baclofen (10 mg, 15 mg or 20 mg) and 10-minute infusions of IV baclofen (7.5 mg, 11.5 mg, or 15 mg) with a minimum 48-hour wash-out period. The third cohort also received a 60-minute infusion of 15 mg IV baclofen after an additional 48-hour wash-out period. Main Outcome Measures Subjects were observed in a CRO for 24 hours after each dose of baclofen, and were assessed for nystagmus, ataxia, and sedation. Blood samples were collected from 0 to 24 hours and analyzed for baclofen concentration using high-performance liquid chromatography−mass spectroscopy. Noncompartmental pharmacokinetic analyses were performed. Dose linearity and proportionality was assessed using 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance and a power model analysis. Results None of the PO or IV doses resulted in significant sedation compared to baseline. All subjects could perform tandem gait after each baclofen dose. The most common side effect, transient mild nystagmus, was noted in 4 of 36 and in 13 of 36 subjects after PO and IV administration, respectively. This was likely related to increased maximum concentrations (Cmax). After the 20 mg PO and 15 mg IV doses, mean Cmax levels were 255 and 722 ng/mL and half-lives were 5.24 and 5.79 hours for PO and IV baclofen, respectively. The mean oral bioavailability for the 20-mg PO dose was approximately 80%. Conclusions All PO and IV doses of baclofen were well tolerated clinically. The 80% bioavailability suggests that a 20% reduction in IV dose will produce comparable total drug exposures to that of the PO dose. When PO therapy is interrupted, bridging with IV baclofen may be feasible. Level of Evidence II

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)743-750
Number of pages8
JournalPM and R
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

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