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Baclofen side effects


Stot
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I started taking baclofen around 5 weeks ago and have so far titrated up to 120mg per day split evenly over 3 doses. I am experiencing side effects, although non will stop me taking it, as I have had a drastic reduction in alcohol craving. Thought I would start this thread as I'm interested in the experiences of others, particularly at what dose and if side effects disappeared with continued usage. Also any tips to combat said side effects would be greatly appreciated. My side effects so far include:

fatigue, insomnia, vivid dreams, hypnic jerks, loss of appetite, nausea, sweating, jaw tension, teeth grinding, oedema, dizziness but best of all a reduced desire to drink myself into oblivion. 

Like I said non of these are severe enough to put me off taking it. What are some of your experiences?  If there is already an existing thread for this apologies and please point me towards it. 

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Hello Stot! What was your titration schedule? If you're having a reduction in cravings at 120mg, I would hang out at the dosage for a while and see if your symptoms don't resolve. The vivid dreams do go away (unfortunately, as far as I'm concerned). I  kicked some serious ass in my Baclofen dreams. I was a bad-ass crusader against evil! The other option is to even go down a little and see if that lessons the side effects. Sometimes going down just 10mg will clear a lot of things up. 

For the most part, your side effects are common (not sure on the edema -- haven't heard of that one as much) and should resolve in time as your body adjusts. 

You said your cravings have diminished which is great. How has that impacted your alcohol intake? Side effects are definitely more pronounced when you continue to drink large quantities. I had terrible sleep apnea for the first year or so, which was scary as hell. But that resolved and I only have one SE now which is uncommon and involves nerve pain in my legs. 

Overall my advice is to go slow on titrating. Try and limit your alcohol use, or eliminate as best you can. And be sure to stay at a dosage at least three days. Sometimes five is better. And going up or down in small increments can help in the short run to minimize your symptoms. 

Keep posting!

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Hi- I had many of these same side effects. The nice thing is that if you stay on one dose for 3-5 days they typically go away. Truthfully, the titration up on Baclofen can be painful in regards to side-effects but the end (when you reach indifference) is absolutely worth it! Think it's great that your cravings have decreased. My switch dose was 310mgs and I didn't really see any anti-craving until I broke the 200 mark. Probably the worst side effect for me was insomnia. Even when I could fall asleep I would wake up 2-3 hours later covered in sweat. That sucked, but it went away. Netflix and a good book is a great cure for insomnia.  Stick with it!

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6 hours ago, Stot said:

I started taking baclofen around 5 weeks ago and have so far titrated up to 120mg per day split evenly over 3 doses. I am experiencing side effects, although non will stop me taking it, as I have had a drastic reduction in alcohol craving. Thought I would start this thread as I'm interested in the experiences of others, particularly at what dose and if side effects disappeared with continued usage. Also any tips to combat said side effects would be greatly appreciated. My side effects so far include:

fatigue, insomnia, vivid dreams, hypnic jerks, loss of appetite, nausea, sweating, jaw tension, teeth grinding, oedema, dizziness but best of all a reduced desire to drink myself into oblivion. 

Like I said non of these are severe enough to put me off taking it. What are some of your experiences?  If there is already an existing thread for this apologies and please point me towards it. 

Hi Stot

I was lucky, in that I did not have bad side effects during titration - Runny nose, tingly fingers, the odd wild dream aside - The norm - My odd ones were mainly continence ones - Being caught short, bed wetting and constipation were my annoying ones and still are

The bed wetting is almost eliminated (once every couple months) by taking my last dose at least three hours before bed and not consuming too much in the way of fluids during this time also - Constipation has improved drastically since my change of medication manufacturer but the being caught short is still an issue - I kid myself that it is to do with the vast amount of water I drink but lets face it, it is the Baclofen

Although my change of medication has improved my constipation, I am finding myself very tired, early in the evening and The Pianna often has to nudge me on the sofa when I nod off - I also feel very light headed after smoking

Like you, the benefits of an anxiety and alcohol free life far outweigh the side effects - Indeed the initial side effects, tingling fingers and runny nose are still there, they have just become part of my existence - They do not alarm me any more, so while they are there, I do not notice them 

I also feel side effects differ drastically between users, depending on many aspects including medication interaction 

Regards

 

Bacman

 

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Hi @Stot. I'm very glad to hear about your reduction in cravings.  I also had lots of SEs.  Here is my post about it last year on MWO:

"I have been stuck at 180 for more than a month due to severe side effects. I have developed obstructive sleep apnea, shortness of breath, severe somnolence during the day, insomnia at night, and edema in my ankles and calves. So why haven't I just quit? Because it has curtailed my drinking significantly, and that is my primary objective. I now use a cpap machine to sleep, compression stockings for the edema, and nootropics to try to keep me functional at work. I use melatonin and calms forte for the insomnia, "

now at my switch dose, my SEs have virtually disappeared except for some mild somnolence during the evening, and some insomnia. They were gone relatively quickly when I stopped titrating up. They varied in intensity over the months.  I do still use a cpap, but once I titrate down, I'm hoping to get off it :).  As I got into the higher ranges, I divided my dose into five for awhile, and sometimes only increased 6.25 mgs every 5 days or so (1/4 of a 25mg pill).  However, the freedom is SO worth it!  For my insomnia, I now take 1/2 a sleep aid (Diphenhydramine HCl), 2 l-theanine, and a valerian root capsule. This works well for me.

Here is additional info on side effects http://www.theendofmyaddiction.org/forum/187-baclofen-side-effects/

Good luck!  

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Hi @Stot,

I also had many of those side effects, especially the vivid dreams, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and hypnic jerks. As most of the others have said, those side effects diminish or disappear after staying at a level dose for a while. I also had a good deal of euphoria during my titration up, which I miss!

@Mom2JTx3 and others mentioned some good solutions - split up your doses further during the day (evenly) if you are suffering from the effects too much. And guard your sleep. I also take l-theanine, and I take l-tryptophan for sleep - it works like a charm. Almost six years after finding indifference via baclofen, I am very watchful of my sleep, and I also keep a close eye on my anxiety levels. 

You are on the right path. If your alcohol levels have decreased and you can tolerate the side effects, you are well on your way to finding indifference. Keep us posted on your progress! 

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Thank you so much to everyone for taking the time to reply.  It's reassuring to know that others have experienced the same things.

 @DunDrinkn I have been titrating up 5mg every 3/4 days, as I am feeling a significant reduction in cravings at 120mg per day I think, as you suggested, I am going to hang there for a while and see how I go.  As for cravings, the first real success that I noticed was last Saturday.  I went with some friends to see Morrissey (any other fans out there?).  Anyway, we all went out before the gig and I found that after about 4 drinks I just did not want to drink anymore, in fact the drink I was drinking was making me feel really nauseous. Now this is unheard of for me, I have been a classic binge drinker for years and have never had an off switch.  For the next two rounds I had soft drinks, then a beer at the gig and I was done.  Went home sober and very happy that something was finally changing.  On Tuesday of this week I attended a lunch with some friends for the Melbourne cup.  Now this is always an all day very boozy event. But again 4 drinks and I was done, I even bought a bottle of wine on the way home as The compulsive binge drinker in me seemed to feel a need to push past it.  Half a glass in and I really could not stomach any more.  Its all quite strange if I'm honest and part of me is wondering what I do now I cant get drunk anymore.

@Jetsman32 Yes I have experienced the dreaded insomnia too, however for the last 3 days I have slept more than ever so I am hoping that boat may have sailed, fingers crossed.  Yes I agree Netflix is a saviour on those long sleepless nights.  I don't know how you have coped going over 300mg but well done!!!!

@Baclofenman The incontinence must really suck but thank you for sharing.  I have noticed that I am urinating more frequently and when I've got to go, I've got to go, if you know what I mean.  I am sure you have already looked into this but have you tried pelvic floor exercises?  I am a nurse and I've seen great results in both men and women, it takes a bit of commitment but can have great results.  I hear you on the constipation front, but I think that may also have something to do with not drinking.  I always seem to get a bit slow in that department when I have not had a drink for a couple of days. Congratulations on your success with baclofen.

@Mom2JTx3 Thank you for the link, I knew there had to be another thread on this somewhere.  I have not experienced any sleep apnoea but I do snore a lot, a bit like when I am drunk.  I am hoping that will pass, well I think my partner is hoping more than I am, glad we have a spare room.  The oedema is really bothering me though, its not contained to my lower limbs but all over.  Even my eyelids are puffy, I've bought some herbal diuretics today so will give them a go. 

@FelinaThank you for giving me hope that these s/e will pass.  Yes there have been times of mild euphoria for me too, although they are unfortunately short lived compared to the bad stuff.  I did try splitting my dose to 4 times per day but I tend to forget to take it, I find it hard sticking to TDS, here is hoping that a slow release comes onto the market soon.

Just want to say that I think this forum is fantastic, I wish more people could find this and get the information needed to beat this horrible affliction.  I contacted Dr Amanda Stafford a while ago and she has recommended a psychiatrist in Sydney that supports HDB treatment, I have an appointment on 21st November.  I have been buying baclofen online until now, I found an Australian site where a Dr writes a prescription based on an online questionnaire so its perfectly legal.  I did tell a fib though and say it was for muscle spasms. If anyone wants the details PM me, I'm not sure if it would be OK to post the details publically?

 

 

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@Stot it sounds as though you are well on your way to sobriety, so hang in there!

12 hours ago, Stot said:

The incontinence must really suck but thank you for sharing.  I have noticed that I am urinating more frequently and when I've got to go, I've got to go, if you know what I mean.  I am sure you have already looked into this but have you tried pelvic floor exercises? 

I think you're right that the incontinence some people suffer is down to baclofen's "relaxing" effect on core muscles such as the pelvic floor.  Pilates is also good for combating this.  I have a scoliosis so I do Pilates & yoga to try to strengthen my core muscles to prevent it progressing further.  

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@Stot don't worry, the insomnia goes away. I have found that if I take my last dose by 4pm at the latest than sleeping at night is a lot easier. I hit indifference at 310mgs (hopefully you hit yours at a much lower dose).  As of right now I have one major side effect that will not go away. Not be be to graphic but I cannot ejaculate during intercourse. I'm still ready to go and will go for 60-90 minutes but can't "close" the deal on my end. My wife loves it but it's frustrating for me! I'm hoping this will go away soon. I'm sure once I start my taper down this will also subside. My new plan is to try to have my last dose of Baclofen by 2pm daily. I think this will help me to finish when it's time to be intimate around 11-12pm at night (going to give it a try today!) I used to take my Bac up to 4 times per day but I've noticed now that I don't have to. As an example, this morning I took 180mgs at once and will take another 130 at 2pm and be done for the day! My one piece of advice is to stick with it! Indifference has changed my life. My wife thinks much more highly of me and cravings no longer control my life. Although they are still there at times, I now have the power to say no! As an example, we went to a big party last weekend. My best friend makes what he calls "bubba juice". Basically it's a mix of rum, crown royal and like 4 different fruit drinks. It's very strong and tastes great. He had leftovers and sent me home with about a gallon of it. So far I've had two glasses total. In the old days I would have polished that off in a day- maybe 2 because it's so damn strong. The SE suck- but the end result is absolutely worth it!

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Hi, Stot, and a belated welcome to the forum. Sorry it took me so long! I think everyone has pretty much covered the SE issue. I had similar experiences. 

Really great that you've had decreased craving and consumption! 

Are you still at 120mg? How is it going? Have you tried a pill box? That's the only way I can remember to take, or if I've taken, the medication. 

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