Compare baclofen vs. Zanaflex

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

baclofen

Zanaflex
(tizanidine)

Relaxes your muscles. Lioresal (baclofen) is a first choice treatment for muscle spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries, but it's not recommended for other types of muscle spasms.Relaxes your muscles. Zanaflex (tizanidine) isn't a first-choice treatment for muscle spasticity. Try other options before using this.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.79baclofen
Reviews for baclofen
61%
of people (All ages) say baclofen is worth it
55%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Lioresal (baclofen)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Zanaflex
81%
-20% worse vs. baclofen
73%
-18% worse vs. baclofen
19%
+4% better vs. baclofen
Have you used Zanaflex (tizanidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
baclofenZanaflex
  • Drowsiness 27%
More baclofen side effects »
  • Vomiting 3%
  • Speech disorder 3%
  • Blurred vision 2%
  • Urinary frequency 1%
  • Flu syndrome 1%
  • Involuntary muscle movement 3%
  • Nervousness 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Hay fever 1%
  • Constipation 3%
More Zanaflex side effects »
How it works
baclofenZanaflex
Lioresal (baclofen) is a gamma-aminobutryic acid (GABA) agonist. It's not clear how it works, but GABA is believed to help calm down nerves. Muscle spasms are thought to be started by overactive nerves.Zanaflex (tizanidine) is an alpha2-adrenergic agonist that works in the nervous system to calm down muscle spasticity.
Type of medication
baclofenZanaflex
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
baclofenZanaflex
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for
baclofenZanaflex
Risk factors for serious side effects
baclofenZanaflex
  • Stopping Lioresal (baclofen) too quickly
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Higher dose
Detailed Lioresal (baclofen) risks & warnings »
  • Taking maximum doses of Zanaflex (tizanidine)
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Currently on blood pressure control medications
  • Taking other medications that also cause sleepiness
  • Recreational drug use
Detailed Zanaflex (tizanidine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Alcohol
baclofenZanaflex
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while on Lioresal (baclofen) because it can make you very sleepy or slow your breathing down.
No alcohol related info.
Food
baclofenZanaflex
No food related info.
  • Can be taken with or without food, but you need to be consistent since food affects how the medication is absorbed and works.
  • Need to be consistent every day in taking this with or without food.
Sleep
baclofenZanaflex
  • Lioresal (baclofen) can make you feel very tired or sleepy. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how it affects you.
  • Taking Zanaflex (tizanidine) can make you feel sleepy and dizzy, especially if you're taking other medications that can also make you feel sleepy, or if you're taking recreational drugs or drinking too much alcohol. Avoid driving or doing other tasks that require concentration until you know how this medication affects you.
  • Can cause dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
Upsides and benefits
baclofenZanaflex
  • A better option for seniors compared to other muscle relaxants since it has fewer side effects than other similar medicines.
  • Lioresal (baclofen) is available as a generic and is a relatively inexpensive medication.
  • Relieves muscle spasticity.
  • Available as a generic.
  • Available in a tablet or capsule form. It also comes in a capsule that can be opened and sprinkled in applesauce for people that can't swallow pills.
Downsides and risks
baclofenZanaflex
  • Except for specific muscle spasms caused by brain injury or multiple sclerosis, Lioresal (baclofen) is not a recommended medicine.
  • If you've been taking Lioresal (baclofen) regularly for a long time, you'll need to get off of it slowly.
  • Lioresal (baclofen) can make you sleepy.
  • If you've had a stroke, Lioresal (baclofen) may not work as well, and you're more likely to experience side effects.
  • This isn't a first-choice muscle relaxing medication. Other drugs work better and have fewer side effects.
  • Takes over an hour to kick in and only lasts 3 to 6 hours.
  • Zanaflex (tizanidine) can lower blood pressure, so be careful if you are already on a blood pressure medication.
  • Need to be consistent every day in taking this with or without food.
  • Elderly individuals have more side effects when taking Zanaflex (tizanidine).
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
baclofenZanaflex
  • Lioresal (baclofen) can make you feel very tired or sleepy. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how it affects you.
  • Don't stop taking Lioresal (baclofen) suddenly without talking to your doctor if you've been on it for a long time. It can be dangerous. Your doctor will help you get off it slowly over time.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while on Lioresal (baclofen) because it can make you very sleepy or slow your breathing down.
  • Can cause dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
  • Avoid activities requiring mental alertness (like driving) until you know how it affects you.
  • Can be taken with or without food, but you need to be consistent since food affects how the medication is absorbed and works.
  • The tablets are not the same as the capsules. This could mean differences in how your body reacts to it, or how it works for you.
  • If you have been on Zanaflex (tizanidine) for a long period of time, you should not stop this abruptly. This can result in rebound high blood pressure, muscle spasticity or fast heart beat. Talk to your doctor about how to slowly lower your dose.
Learn more
More about baclofenSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Lioresal (baclofen)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about ZanaflexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zanaflex (tizanidine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it