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Thinking of trying baclofen


idefineme
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howdy, I used to be on MWO and that's how I Know of this forum.  I wasn't on the medication thread much as I wasn't at the time taking any medications.  I've tried antabuse which worked while I was on it, but wanted to drink so I quit taking the Antabuse.  I tried Naltrexone prior to knowing anything about TSM, so was probably taking it wrong because it did nothing for me.  Yesterday my doc prescribed Baclofen ... 10 mgs 3 times a day, which doesn't sound like much after reading around here a little.  I'll go check the Research area and nose around, but wanted to put this out there in case anybody has some personal insight.  

It's good to be here, and nice to see familiar names!  

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Hey Idef

Nice to hear from you - 10 mg 3 times a day is not going to get you very far, very fast I am afraid

Did your doctor have any plan for you, for instance a titration schedule? - The French titration schedule can be seen below

http://www.theendofmyaddiction.org/forum/102-prescribing-guide-for-baclofen-in-the-treatment-of-alcoholism-for-physicians/

AFAIA - US doctors will prescribe iro 100mg a day and you will need to subsidise this will some unprescribed assistance

I think @Mentium is starting on TSM, maybe have a word with him

I did laugh at the giving up on antabuse because you wanted to drink - I do love you M :hug:

Good luck to you my "give up sister" 

My best

 

Bacman

 

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Yes I am trying naltrexone - via the Sinclair method. Still waiting for my order to arrive so I can't comment from personal experience.

Naltrexone as a drug to help people who are abstaining appears to be not all that helpfull, though it does help some people from what I have read.

The Sinclair method, which involves taking Nal an hour or so before drinking is said over time to defeat the addiction mechanism vis 'extinction' at the opioid brain chemistry level.

I'm giving it a go anyway. The research suggests a high success rate. Mind you - you have to take the pills!

 

Edited by Mentium
spelly
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Thanks for your input, guys!  Much appreciated!

I've done just a wee bit of research on the baclofen, and I must say that what I've read so far is very promising ... even at lower dosages than me, Bacman.  One gentleman said he was taking 1200 mg every six hours, which I find rather hard to believe.  I could relate with another person said they didn't even have a desire to stop drinking, just knew they needed to for obvious reasons, and ended up totally stopping and being happy about it!

There is an article on this site that gives an example of dosages for week one and I think I'll follow that, as I am concerned about SEs.  I'll see if I can find it again and post it here, but in a nutshell it has me starting with 1/2 pill the first day, 1/2 a pill 2x on the second day, and on the third day 1/2 pill 3x a day, then repeating that cycle with a whole pill.  

I'm excited to try this because I am a stubborn one, and if somebody tells me I can't do something well, that's an invitation for me to do it!  I think that's why the Antabuse didn't work for me! 

I'm anxious to see how the naltrexone works for you, Mentium!  Good luck with it and keep us posted!          

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Hi Ide 

I reached indifference last sept but lost it after titrating down to far because I was concerned about a new shipment coming from abroad 

luckily I reached indifference 2 weeks ago again on 160mg so I'm guarding my switch with my life!

I got there really quickly each time,in about 4 weeks the second time and the SE's have been nominal this time round (last time they were horrendous)

I have daytime sleepiness and some snoring at night,slight tingling of my fingers and a little odema in my ankles and wrists but it's nothing I can't deal with

Go for it but l'd say take it slower than me!

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Hi, Idefineme! Welcome to EOMA! Love that username, by the way. 

So I think you may have been reading about gabapentin when you mentioned that someone said they were taking 1200mg/day. That's a different medication altogether. That much baclofen would land someone in the ICU!

Baclofen is approved up to 80mg for muscle spasms in cases of multiple sclerosis or other neurological diseases. It isn't approved for alcohol use disorders anywhere outside of France. It's great that your doctor has prescribed it for you! It means that s/he is thinking outside of the box and is willing to try new things. Is this a psychiatrist (pdoc) or a general practitioner (GP)? 

There was a study done in this country where the researchers only went up to 30mg. It didn't really show any effectiveness. That's not to say it might not for you. But best that you go in with realistic expectations.

People have seen a reduction in drinking and/or anxiety in doses below 80mg, but it is more usual that the doses are higher than that before the person finds a cessation in interest in drinking ("the switch" or "indifference"). 

Take a look at the Prescribing Guide I've attached below. It is written by the foremost experts about alcoholism and baclofen. (He's French and this is a translation.) It will give you an idea of what to expect and what doctors in France are prescribing. Hopefully, your doctor will be as open to prescribing it that way as s/he is in prescribing 30mg.

http://www.theendofmyaddiction.org/forum/102-prescribing-guide-for-baclofen-in-the-treatment-of-alcoholism-for-physicians/

Also, you can check out some of the stories in this link to see how other people did it, and get an idea of what it was like for some others. 

http://www.theendofmyaddiction.org/forum/198-tell-us-your-story/

(I see that you and baclofenman know each other. It IS nice to see the same friendly "faces" isn't it? Without all the mess and drama that we had on the other forum.)

Nice to have you here, and hope you'll find what you're looking for! Please feel free to ask any questions you have. :hug: Ne

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@Ne1 sorry I haven't been back until now.  The funny think about my doc is that I wasn't planning on approaching the whole bac thing because I know it's not common in the US and figured it would be a conversation stopper.  So when he brought it up I was quite surprised! Pleasantly so.  He is a GP, but recently went through training to do psychotherapy, so he's got knowledge of the entire package.

I take it you're in Europe somewhere?  Where abouts?

I will check out the two links you posted over the weekend.  Thanks for sharing them! 

One quick question before I go, and I'm worried it will be buried here, but I'm wondering (and maybe I'll find my answer in your second link, Ne) what the consensus is on drinking while taking bac?  Do people take bac and still drink, waiting for the "switch" before drinking less or quitting altogether?  I've been taking bac while still drinking and I'm not sure that's part protocol.  TIA, and a happy Friday to us all!

 

 

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To answer your question I drank while taking bac as many people do. In my case it made me feel awful towards the end. I managed to stop drinking briefly and felt much better - this was before 'indifference', which in my case I didn't reach. The side effects (again in my case) were too unpleasant. Possibly because I went up too fast. Anyway I didn't personally take to bac at all. I think I am in the minority though.

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My first attempt with bac while drinking was not successful And then I tried again, this time I stopped drinking for 2 weeks while I titrated up & found it quite easy with few SE - you can go up a bit faster & each day that passes almost, you feel fewer cravings. That's just my experience, anyway.

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On July 15, 2016 at 7:27 AM, idefineme said:

One quick question before I go, and I'm worried it will be buried here, but I'm wondering (and maybe I'll find my answer in your second link, Ne) what the consensus is on drinking while taking bac?  Do people take bac and still drink, waiting for the "switch" before drinking less or quitting altogether?  I've been taking bac while still drinking and I'm not sure that's part protocol.  TIA, and a happy Friday to us all!

Hi, IDM! I'm in coastal Virginia. 

I'm so psyched that your GP recommended bac. Will you send me a PM with his/her info? I'll keep it top secret, I promise. I'm collecting names and locations in order to get an idea of how and where and why docs are getting info about baclofen. I know this may make you feel uncomfortable. If it does, don't worry about it. 

There are two schools of thought about whether one should abstain or drink when taking bac. The consensus seems to be that drinking while taking baclofen makes the side effects worse and may actually make it more difficult to figure out when you're indifferent. (Drinking through the switch.) The first time I successfully took baclofen up to indifference, the side effects were brutal. I believe they were exacerbated by the booze. There are several people who have been posting recently that they only reached indifference after they were able to use some willpower to remain abstinent for a time. 

Basically, I don't think there is a firm answer to the question. The doctor's prescription guide (which I've linked for you) clearly states that the patient does not have to stop drinking for baclofen to be effective. And in fact, it notes that some people just stop drinking alcoholically and start drinking within normal parameters. 

In my humble opinion, I think that abstaining is a really good goal, and it just makes sense to me that it would help the process along. And perhaps drinking inhibits the process. But I've not been able to abstain for consecutive stretches of time, (this time around) and I don't want to be hypocritical about it. 

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9 hours ago, Ne1 said:

Hi, IDM! I'm in coastal Virginia. 

I'm so psyched that your GP recommended bac. Will you send me a PM with his/her info? I'll keep it top secret, I promise. I'm collecting names and locations in order to get an idea of how and where and why docs are getting info about baclofen. I know this may make you feel uncomfortable. If it does, don't worry about it. 

There are two schools of thought about whether one should abstain or drink when taking bac. The consensus seems to be that drinking while taking baclofen makes the side effects worse and may actually make it more difficult to figure out when you're indifferent. (Drinking through the switch.) The first time I successfully took baclofen up to indifference, the side effects were brutal. I believe they were exacerbated by the booze. There are several people who have been posting recently that they only reached indifference after they were able to use some willpower to remain abstinent for a time. 

Basically, I don't think there is a firm answer to the question. The doctor's prescription guide (which I've linked for you) clearly states that the patient does not have to stop drinking for baclofen to be effective. And in fact, it notes that some people just stop drinking alcoholically and start drinking within normal parameters. 

In my humble opinion, I think that abstaining is a really good goal, and it just makes sense to me that it would help the process along. And perhaps drinking inhibits the process. But I've not been able to abstain for consecutive stretches of time, (this time around) and I don't want to be hypocritical about it. 

Hi Idef

I think this is a pretty good post tbh.....

As you know I stopped drinking after two weeks of starting my Baclofen programme - I also agree that the SE DO seem worse while continuing to drink - Sure, I had a couple but NOTHING compared with some of the anecdotal (lets face it, this is the best for a forum) evidence that I have read

How fab is it that your Doc has heard of Baclofen for the treatment of AUD - That is so cool

Regards

 

Bacman

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Thanks for the feedback, Ne and Bacman!  I agree with both of you that it's pretty cool that my doc thinks outside of the box.  I never mentioned bac to him because I know it's very uncommon in US for a doc to prescribe, and I figured I'd just be talking to a brick wall.  So, I was VERY surprised when he brought it up!  Ne, I don't mind giving you his information, but I can't do that until after I talk with him, which will be in another month or so.  If I remember to ask him, and if he agrees, I will indeed PM his info to you.  I think it's a good idea to have some kind of database going for docs that will prescribe in the US since it's so obscure here.  

I rather figured it would be best to abstain while taking bac, but you know ... AV rears its persistent head once again, looking for an excuse to keep on keeping on.  Anyway, I'm in a little more than a week, went up in slow increments of 5 mg/day, so I'm at the 30mg/day that my doc prescribed.  I may get a message to him between now and a month from now to see if he'll back me up on upping the dosage, but I'll stay put for a few more days at least to see how the cravings go (or not).  Will keep y'all posted! 

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Today is 22 days AF thanks to Baclofen 

my SE's on 160mg are

constipation

day time sleepiness

waking at night but able to go straight back to sleep

A cough that I call a Bac cough

 

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Congrats, @Nicnak! I used Colace when I was constipated. (This is actually a very common symptom of quitting drinking.) Colace is not a laxative, so it just helps get things moving very gently. (You don't have to use that brand. Anything called 'stool softener' will work. Just make sure that the ingredients don't have a laxative in them too, or you'll have to be near a bathroom!!)

Is the bac cough related to sinus drainage? Post-nasal drip and/or runny nose is actually listed as an official side effect of baclofen. (One of the few that we actually experience!) I used a netipot or steroid spray (Rx) or some other kind of OTC med to stop the nasal drip. 

But regardless of all that, the SEs WILL eventually go away. 

IDM, good luck with the goal of abstaining. IMHO, it would be wise to contact your doctor, even if you just drop off the prescribing guide for her/him to read. That way you can get ahead of the curve and continue with 30mg, but hopefully be able to increase it in a timely manner if it doesn't work as well as you'd like. But no matter what, I'm stoked for you. 

Interesting that your doc had you go up by 5mg at a time. Makes sense, especially at the higher doses. Though it's hard to move that slowly! 

Hang in there!

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I don't seem to have any nasal problems,just a stuffy nose which I know is a SE of Baclofen.

Im using Senna for the constipation and when I do go it's very loose ( I know,TMI!) 

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On 7/17/2016 at 2:21 AM, idefineme said:

Are you still taking bac, Molly78?

Yes, I am. I'm not alcohol free, but didn't intend to be - I now drink within recommended guidelines.......compared to up to 2 bottles of wine a day before bac!

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5 hours ago, Ne1 said:

Congrats, @Nicnak! I used Colace when I was constipated

Nicnak, I think that's like Movicol in the UK - not the same as senna - more gentle, check it out.

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I've tried Senna and laxido powder but nothing works well.I go about every two days but even then it's not a lot.

Since being indifferent I've been dieting(easy when I'm not drinking) and have lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks.Im sure it would be more than that if I could go to the toilet properly haha 

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The active ingredient is docusate sodium. It's very gentle, and you need to drink a lot of water for it to work properly. You can take it every day and take a couple of them at a time...

And I forgot to mention spinach!! It makes everything better. I am like Popeye--and believe that spinach has supernatural powers! ;) 

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NE,you know how I worry about everything,well I've been worrying that taking laxatives will stop the Bac being absorbed.But even I think I'm worrying for nothing as it's still working!

Will try to get hold of the stuff you recommend,will try anything 

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@Ne, after surfing around a bit I decided on my own to go up by 5mg/day, being concerned about SEs.  I have experienced mild dizziness, a little nausea and afternoon sleepiness, and that's it.  

Congrats on your success so far, @Molly78!  That is awesome!  

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I wrote a note to my doc and dropped it off with the guide as you suggested, @Ne1, and thank you for that suggestion!  I still experience anxiety and shame when discussing this stuff with him, but it has reduced drastically thanks to my therapist and my doctor.  And for the online forums as well.  Just talking about it helps relieve those feelings, whereas talking about it the past was almost disabling.  If anybody else (ha) suffers from anxiety you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Anyway, thanks again for encouraging me to take that step.  I'm glad I did, and we'll see what comes of it next time I see him within the next month.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I believe the 30mg has already started doing something, although I am definitely not at my switch.  I am much less interested in drinking to intoxication, which is a HUGE step in the direction I want to take.  @Molly78 it is not my intent to totally abstain either, so I'm glad to know there are others with the same plan.  I've tried white-knuckling it, which has proven futile for me.  I've tried AA which didn't work for a number of reasons.  I tried Naltrexone which did not work in part I'm sure because I was taking it incorrectly, and I tried Antabuse which kept me from drinking as long as I took the stuff, but my resistant stubborn self wouldn't have it so I stopped taking that.  I am hoping Bac does for me what it has done for others.  So far I've had a few minor and short-lived SEs, but the one that is most disturbing is the overwhelming sleepiness in the afternoon.  I have a full-time desk job, and I have had to fight falling asleep at work.  Yesterday I actually dozed for a bit at my desk and surprised myself when I woke up, because I was really fighting it!  Hopefully that will end over time, because that's just not acceptable, falling asleep at work!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Thanks for listening to me jaw.  Have a good rest of the day, all!   

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Morning, IDM! 

I can't wait to hear what your doctor says about the prescribing guide!

SO GREAT that you are feeling a difference in your desire to drink. Somnolence (sleepiness) in the afternoon is one of the main SEs. You can take something to keep you awake, either over the counter or from your doc (or online). Try a bunch of coffee or caffeinated tea. You could go down a bit, until you stop falling asleep at your desk, and then go up slowly. (10mg every 3-5 days. Not 5mg/day.) Or you could just wait it out until it gets better. It is really hard to sit at a desk all day if you're feeling sleepy from the bac. (I couldn't sit at a desk all day if my life depended on it!!) 

The other thing, and this is important, is that continuing to drink may be making it worse. I'm not suggesting absolute abstinence, I wasn't abstinent when I took bac up to indifference. But AL definitely makes that SE worse, in my opinion. Maybe limit the drinks you have during the week when you can?

As far as the constipation is concerned, my psychiatrist suggested Magnesium, 250mg, 1 or 2 pills, 3x/day until you stop being constipated. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm going to get some today and try it out. 

 

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@idefineme I couldn't go one day AF before I reached indifference.  I agree with Ne that it's better if you don't drink in terms of side effects, but I drank heavily all the way up and it still worked for me.

mom2

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I was the same as mom,drinking right up till the day before I was indifferent.I definetly had a " switch".... As in one day it was on and the next day it was off.

But many a lot of people have the dimmer switch effect for want of s better word.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Nicnakway to go on the weight loss!  That is one of the many benefits I hope to experience by becoming alcohol indifferent.  Like @Molly78I do not intend to go cold turkey, but rather become a "normal" drinker at best.  

I haven't been posting, mostly just digging around.  Visiting the research pages on bac.  Lots of good stuff.  I'm currently on 30 mg, and just yesterday got tired of the NON-indifference I'm experiencing so far, so I got hold of my doc and told him I'd like his okay to increase my dosage by 5mg/day.  His response was "okay"!!!  So, I've got the green light from him to begin to titrate up!  This is exciting to me but also a little scary if I am to be honest.  I know in my heart of hearts that quitting drinking is THE one thing that I can/need to do for my physical, mental, emotional and relational health.  But always, ALWAYS, I have this stubborn opposing part of me that wants to sabotage everything, and doubts a good ending.  Does anybody else have that issue?  How do you deal with it?  I read here and pretty much everybody has this burning desire to cut down or quit altogether.  My desire isn't burning ... it's more like a "I should", dragging-my-feet kind of attitude, with hope up on it's tippy-toes in the background, waving it's arms.  Anybody else?  How do you climb over this attitude? 

I'm a work in progress, I'll be the first to admit.  Any advice from anybody on this would be deeply appreciated. If I'm honest with myself, as I'm typing this, I think I might have a clue ... but the answer has me stepping out of my comfort zone and that, I think, is what I'm trying to avoid.  

I plan on coming here more regularly to read and post, receive and give support from others in the same boat.  From what I've seen so far, it's by far the most accepting and open-minded forum I've visited.  

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@idefineme,I'm now 45 days AF.

weight loss was initially good but it's slowed right down now to about half a pound a week even though I'm only eating 1200 calories a day  so I'm now walking an hour a day to get it moving again.

I have at least 3 stone to loose (put on because of the wine and what I ate to go with it) so don't feel it should be this slow.Maybe it's the Bac,who knows.

 

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hiya, @Nicnak! Was AF your goal, or something you obtained along the way?  In other words, did you intend to be AF, or was your intent to lower your consumption?  My experience was that exercise makes a HUGE difference in weight loss, so I hope your up in walking shows an increase in weight loss.  Either way, what you are doing is in favor of your over-all health.  Maybe, as you say, the bac is slowing your progress.  Who's to tell?  One thing is for sure ... if you're 45 days AF then you have decreased your daily caloric intake GREATLY!  Congrats on the weight loss, I hope to join you soon.  

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