According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Baclofen primarily treats symptoms associated with spinal cord disease or injury, muscle spasm, and multiple sclerosis. It has also been widely prescribed to manage alcohol, opioid, cocaine, and tobacco abuse symptoms.
Despite the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved its use as a medically safe and effective treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, it is still used to treat those addictions. However, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) does not recommend the use of baclofen in a clinical patient setting. However, research is still needed to confirm and predict favorable responses to baclofen in these situations.
Typical baclofen withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, agitation, confusion, delusions, and hallucinations, insomnia, visual changes, psychosis, dyskinesia, hyperthermia, and increase spasticity. Severe cases can result in delirium that triggers a series of seizures. Baclofen Withdrawal Symptom (BWS) can also be mistaken for alcohol withdrawal. Assuming you suffer from alcohol withdrawal, you will usually be given a dosage of benzodiazepines that will ease your withdrawal symptoms to some degree. However, confusion and agitation might reign for about seven days, after which, your BWS will usually resolve itself without necessitating a further need for treatment.
Early warning signs for withdrawal include:
If these withdrawal symptoms are not treated, other advanced withdrawal symptoms can occur including high fever, agitated mental status, and stiffness in the muscles. In rare cases, a withdrawal may be as life-threatening as a loss of vital organs or even death. This is why it’s important to recognize early baclofen withdrawal symptoms and act as soon as possible to prevent any life-threatening effects on your central nervous system.
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following warning signs.
Lower than normal body temperature
To ensure a successful recovery, it is highly recommended you undergo a medically supervised baclofen detox. Do not attempt to go cold turkey! You might risk a dangerous withdrawal reaction should you discontinue baclofen without any medical supervision which could potentially result in life-threatening baclofen withdrawal symptoms such as hallucinations and seizures.
Baclofen detox should ideally take place at a recovery center that can support you throughout the withdrawal and recovery process, including medical treatment and therapy. Detoxing at home isn’t recommended as you won’t benefit from a medical staff who has experience with baclofen or muscle relaxants. At a recovery center, staff will map a treatment plan to reduce your withdrawal symptoms and promote long-term recovery. The success of overcoming baclofen abuse can never fully happen at home.
During a baclofen detox, the following happens:
If you’re looking to detox from baclofen, the best kind of drug rehab program would be equipped to handle a wide spectrum of substance abuse problems including:
Specifically, an excellent rehab facility can save your life. And yet, not enough people are seeking out the care of a drug facility. Just 2.5 million of those people actually sought help according to SAMHSA.
A drug rehab program that can treat your addiction to baclofen shouldn’t be a cookie cutter solution. It should customize treatment for each individual seeking medical help and support. The best drug rehab programs are those that treat mental health disorders and provide rehab programs customized to treat a specific drug being abused. If you are visiting a drug recovery program, ask how they might support your addiction to baclofen with specific knowledge and expertise.
You should not be urged to sign on for a “quick-fix detox” drug withdrawal. It’s important to understand which programs get to the root cause of addiction by treating the emotional, lifestyle, and psychological factors that contribute to addiction, not just the addiction itself.
Depending on the amount of time you’ve been on baclofen, expect your timeline to vary. You might experience symptoms of high fever, muscle stiffness, and mood swings. Sudden baclofen withdrawal can lead to organ failure and death.
Symptoms generally start within a few hours after one discontinues the last dose, and it can also take up to forty-eight hours for baclofen withdrawal symptoms to appear. At 72 hours, baclofen withdrawal symptoms generally peak before disappearing gradually. In other cases, such physical and mental symptoms might persist for weeks or even months until they completely subside.
Older patients need more time to get rid of the drug’s presence while others may metabolize the drug faster. Factor also your body mass, dosage amounts, duration of time and your metabolism rate. Quicker metabolisms tend to get rid of drug toxins quicker.
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U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019). [online] Baclofen [Accessed 27 Mar. 2019] from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682530.html
Nih.gov. . An Unusual Case of Baclofen Abuse [Accessed 13 Mar. 2019] from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5052965/
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive. (2010). [online] Effects of baclofen and mirtazapine on a laboratory model of marijuana withdrawal and relapse [Accessed 27 Mar. 2019] from https://www.datafiles.samhsa.gov/study-publication/effects-baclofen-and-mirtazapine-laboratory-model-marijuana-withdrawal-and-relapse
Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome. Healthline. from https://www.healthline.com/health/alcoholism/withdrawal
The Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) from https://www.samhsa.gov/