Methocarbamol and baclofen are both common muscle relaxant medications prescribed for back pain and muscle injuries. They both relieve pain and help muscles relax, and they share common side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, sedation and dry mouth. The cost is also similar, with 90 tablets of methocarbamol or baclofen costing roughly between $40 and $60, which is a month’s supply depending on the type and severity of pain being treated. It’s possible to get methocarbamol for as little as $10-$15 per month with our prescription discounts coupons. So what is the difference between these two drugs? Is one better than the other?
The main difference between baclofen and methocarbamol lies in the mechanism of action, a.k.a how it works. Even though they are both in the muscle relaxant category, they are structurally different. Methocarbamol is a carbamate drug and baclofen is a GABA agonist.
GABA agonists work by potentiating or activating GABA receptors. The GABA neurotransmitter reduces neuronal excitability, which is why GABA agonists have a calming or sedating effect. For this reason, baclofen is approved for the treatment of muscle spasticity and methocarbamol is not. Muscle spasticity occurs when there is some sort of injury or condition affecting the spinal cord or brain that interferes with nerve communication. Some conditions that interfere with brain-muscle communication include multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and stroke. These conditions can cause involuntary muscle spasms that are painful and disabling. They can also cause muscles to be overly tense and overresponsive, resulting in hyperreflexia. Baclofen is thought to block nerve signals that are telling the muscles to contract.
The way methocarbamol works, on the other hand, is still not completely understood. The drug relaxes and depresses the central nervous system, but it has no direct effect on the contractile mechanism of striated muscle tissue (non-smooth muscle tissue) and doesn’t reduce neuronal excitability. Methocarbamol is indicated for the treatment of painful musculoskeletal conditions associated with muscle spasms which includes strains, sprains and common sports injuries. Muscle spasms are different from muscle spasticity because they occur due to local activity in the muscle tissue, bones or other surrounding tissue rather than nerve communication in the brain or spinal cord. Examples of muscle spasms include headache, neck pain, back pain and fibromyalgia. Muscles do not become overly responsive in the case of muscle spasms.
Methocarbamol is thought to have a lower abuse potential compared to similar muscle relaxants such as carisoprodol. While baclofen doesn’t have a particularly high potential for abuse, there have been reports of misuse, and withdrawal from baclofen can be similar to alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal. Get more information about Methocarbamol and a free discount on your prescription costs by visiting our Methocarbamol Drug Page.