Baclofen is used to treat uncontrolled muscle spasms or tension and is sold under the generic name Lioresal. The medication is a derivative of GABA, a brain neurotransmitter. It works by activating the GABA receptors in the brain and calms the activity of the brain which leads to the muscle spasms. Baclofen is known to block specific reflexes in order to prevent excess transmitters from being released. It was originally used for treating epilepsy but it was not very effective for that purpose. Baclofen can be given directly into the spinal cords through injections and can also be taken orally in forms of tablets.
Different uses of Baclofen
Baclofen is used as central nervous system depressant and also works as a skeletal muscle relaxant. Using Baclofen calms the activity of the brain and spinal cord nerves to reduce the muscle spasms. Baclofen is mostly used to treat diseases of the spinal cord or multiple sclerosis as well as to treat people with cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries. People with Parkinson’s disease or stroke must not use Baclofen at all. When not recommended and used, Baclofen can lead to side effects like insomnia, tiredness, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, or headaches. The medical uses of Baclofen in details are included below:
Spasticity: Baclofen is most commonly used for treating spastic movement disorders like instances of spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.
Addiction treatment: Recent researches have shown the benefit of Baclofen in treating addiction. When someone is experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it can be very painful and deadly. When Baclofen is used in addiction treatments, it has been proven to reduce the symptoms in individuals going through alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Other medical uses: Baclofen and other muscle relaxants are being studied for their potential use for persistent hiccups and many other diseases like Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and also for treating cocaine addiction.
Recommended Dosage of Baclofen
Baclofen must be taken orally, with food or without food, as recommended by the doctor. It can be taken three times a day, as per the doctor’s recommendation. To prevent side effects the doctor can suggest taking a lower dosage at first and eventually, increase the dosage depending upon the body’s response to the dosage. The dosage should not be increased without a doctor’s recommendation as it must be based on your medical condition and the response to the treatment. Take as much as it is recommended, strictly.
You must use the medication regularly to get the benefit from it and take it at the same time every day to prevent yourself from missing out a dosage. Do not stop using the medication without consulting your doctor first as certain medical conditions can get worse if the medication is stopped suddenly. Hallucinations and seizures are some of the side effects that you might experience if you stop taking it suddenly. The doctor will reduce the dosage gradually to prevent you from experiencing any withdrawal symptoms.
Side-Effects of Baclofen
Side effects of Baclofen include drowsiness, dizziness, insomnia, frequent urination, nausea, constipation or headache. If you experience these side effects and it gets worse, consult your doctor immediately. If the doctor has suggested the medication for you, he/she must have evaluated the benefit of Baclofen for you. Thus use the medication as per your doctor’s suggestion. Although most people do not have any serious side effects of using Baclofen, side effects like mood changes like confusion, depression or hallucinations can be experienced and informing your doctor right away about it is the right way to get it treated.
Serious allergic reactions to the drug are rashes, itching, severe dizziness, breathing problems, swelling or itching in the face or throat can also be noticed which are rare. There are more side effects that one might experience but the most common ones are mentioned above.
Baclofen Overdose and Abuse
The dosage of Baclofen, when recommended by a doctor, depends on various factors like the medical condition being treated and its severity, patient’s age and the patient’s reaction to the first dosage. Oral dosage of 10mg and 20mg are available over the counter and the doctor would usually recommend a lower dosage of 5mg initially and gradually increase it.
It is possible to overdose on Baclofen and the signs of Baclofen overdose are seizures, vomiting and muscle weakness. Serious signs of an overdose could include lose of consciousness and apnea. When a person overdoses on Baclofen, he may suffer from high blood pressure, slow reflexes, bradycardia, and hypothermia. How much Baclofen will lead to overdose cannot be determined as the right dosage varies from one person to another which is why the medication must be used as per the prescription only. One of the risks of Baclofen is its availability at affordable prices.
Can Overdosing on Baclofen Cause a High?
People can also abuse Baclofen by using it for recreational purposes. The common side effects of Baclofen high are drowsiness and dizziness. It is possible to get high on Baclofen as it is known to create feelings of euphoria and pleasant reactions which are similar to other drugs taken for getting high. When someone abuses Baclofen, they are exposed to higher risks of overdose and tend to feel narcotic-like effects. Some people can even feel high at 10mg but mostly, when people use more than 20mg they are considered to be abusing it. When Baclofen is combined with any other central nervous system depressants like alcohol, it can lead to side effects that are riskier.
Common Symptoms of Baclofen Overdose
The common symptoms of Baclofen overdose can include:
- Severe muscle weakness
- Breathing problems
There can be more serious side effects of Baclofen overdose which could include:
- Bradycardia or slow heart rate
- High blood pressure
Can Baclofen Abuse Cause Addiction?
There have been several reports stating that Baclofen is used for recreational purposes to get narcotic-like effects as it causes drowsiness. Baclofen high can also be achieved by combining it with other drugs which could be recreational, herbs, supplements, etc. Substances like alcohol, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants, and tranquilizers that repress the central nervous system, when taken with Baclofen, can cause addiction and severe side effects.
Common Symptoms of Baclofen Addiction
Using Baclofen for recreational purposes to get high or overdosing on Baclofen can lead to addiction. The drowsiness and pleasant feeling that Baclofen high offers are similar to narcotic-like effects, which is why, it is addictive. The common symptoms of Baclofen high or addiction are:
- High blood pressure
- Slow reflexes or coma
- Slow heart rate
There have been reports stating that Baclofen withdrawal after discontinuing the medication has been widely recognized. The withdrawal symptoms of Baclofen can start developing over a very short period of time. The withdrawal symptoms of Baclofen are usually associated with intentional drug cessation when adequate attention is not paid to the dosage of the drug used. The withdrawal symptoms of Baclofen will start within 48 hours after abrupt discontinuation of Baclofen when the dosage of 60mg per day. The withdrawal symptoms in the patients include developing an altered mental state which requires readmission and treatment. Abrupt discontinuation of Baclofen can lead to severe life-risking withdrawal symptoms which can make it worse for individuals with coexisting medical conditions like active infections.
Baclofen withdrawal symptoms
Baclofen high withdrawal symptoms can be similar to those of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and benzodiazepines. The withdrawal symptoms of Baclofen can be severe and deadly, especially when it is used for more than a few months. The withdrawal symptoms can occur even when someone uses low dosage. When the individual suddenly stops using Baclofen the withdrawal symptoms are more serious. The withdrawal symptoms of Baclofen include:
- Tactile hallucination.
- Visual and auditory hallucination.
- Memory problem.
- Changes in perception
- Mood changes.
- Behavioral changes.
- Extremely rebound muscle spasticity and rigidity.
How Long do the Withdrawal Symptoms Last?
Like most other drugs, the withdrawal timeline of Baclofen high can vary depending upon factors like how long the patient has used Baclofen and whether they have gradually reduced the dosage of Baclofen or not. The withdrawal symptoms are more severe in people who use the spinal injections of Baclofen instead of the oral Baclofen. Advanced Baclofen withdrawal symptoms include muscle stiffness, changes in mental state, and high fever. In a few cases, sudden discontinuation of Baclofen can also cause organ failure and death.
The withdrawal timeline of Baclofen can depend on the individual’s dosage of Baclofen, route of administration, and how long it has been used. But there is a general timeline for Baclofen withdrawal which is considered to be similar to that of alcohol withdrawal as both of these drugs affect the activities in the brain. The Baclofen withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours from taking the last dosage and can also take as much as 48 hours for the first withdrawal symptoms to occur. The withdrawal symptoms usually reach the peak around 7 hours and the symptoms can last for weeks in many individuals. The psychological symptoms of Baclofen withdrawal like anxiety or depression can last for months, in a few cases.
Baclofen Treatment for High & Addicts
It is addictive and repeatedly getting high on Baclofen can lead to addiction like any other narcotic. It can be abused with alcohol or Opioids which can worsen the situation and Baclofen high withdrawal symptoms can be severe. The risks of Baclofen addiction has concerned doctors as they have to be aware of the fact that Baclofen can be used as an addiction treatment as well. It has high chances of replacing one addiction (the one that is being treated) with another (Baclofen addiction) and stopping the use of Baclofen suddenly can lead to withdrawal symptoms like any other narcotics. If your loved one is struggling with Baclofen addiction problem, you should seek for professional treatment and the types of treatments offered for this are:
Detox: This is the first step in treating a substance use disorder. During this stage of the treatment, the patient is given a lower dosage of Baclofen to slowly wean off the quantity of drug present in thw system without actually stopping it abruptly. Stopping the drug intake abruptly can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms which can be avoided by going through detox. Once the situation is under control, the professionals will evaluate the patient and take him to the next step of the treatment.
Inpatient treatment: This treatment allows the patient to live at the treatment facility throughout the program during which he will receive care and treatment that includes group therapy, individual therapy, and medication management. If the Baclofen withdrawal symptoms are serious then this treatment option is right for you. During this treatment, the medical care professionals will address all the problems related to the substance use disorder and also the mental health issues that you might be facing.
Residential treatment: This treatment option is provided in a number of models like therapeutic communities or in a halfway house. The duration of the treatment is decided depending on the facility and the situation of the patient which could last from 1 month to 1 year or more. These programs help the individual, especially when they do not have a stable home environment or when the substance use disorder is really serious. They help in preparing the person to re-enter their workplaces or schools by offering them resources and training and also provides space for exploring various options.
Outpatient: This treatment option allows the individual to continue living in their own homes while they can attend a rehab on regular basis. This is a great treatment option if you want to stay at home and yet want to get treated also if the situation is not serious. It relies greatly on group therapies and counseling. They might also provide medication management to their patients.
Support groups: There are many support groups available today to help the patients overcoming Baclofen high or addiction. They provide social support and mental support that they offer before, during and after the treatment has been completed. This helps you to transition out of the treatment successfully.
Aftercare: Before transitioning out of the treatment it is important for you to work on an aftercare plan so that you are prepared to handle the triggers and urges when they come. Aftercare could involve seeing a therapist regularly or staying engaged with the 12-step support group program as an alumnus or a member of the group. It is important to figure out an aftercare strategy for yourself that works the best for you.
Why is Detoxification important for Baclofen addicts?
When someone uses Baclofen, they must be aware of the risks of its withdrawal and understand that they must reduce the dosage gradually to avoid the risks. Due to the high chances of experiencing Baclofen withdrawal symptoms, a professional Baclofen detox is usually recommended. The most severe symptoms of Baclofen withdrawal are seizures, hallucinations and organ failure, which can be avoided when the individual using Baclofen opts for professional detox treatment. During the Baclofen detox, the patient is kept under medical supervision and the dosage of the drug is slowly tapered down. There can be more medical interventions performed on the patient to ensure that he stays safe and comfortable while their withdrawal or Baclofen addiction can be monitored during the treatment. When a person is under the detox treatment for reducing the withdrawal symptoms of Baclofen high, other mental conditions that co-occur during the treatment will also be monitored and treated. A professional detox treatment is a must to manage the Baclofen withdrawal symptoms and one must not attempt Baclofen detox at home on their own as it might be fatal.
How Long does Baclofen High Stay in your Body?
Baclofen has a relatively short stay in the body. The half-life of any drug is the measurement for how long half the dosage of the drug will take to get eliminated from the system. The half-life of Baclofen is two to four hours which is why some patients are recommended to take Baclofen several times a day in order to make sure that the drug is being able to control spasticity. Based on the half-life of Baclofen as estimated, it would take around 10 to 20 hours for the drug to completely clear out of the patient’s body. Due to the fact that Baclofen withdrawal symptoms can be severe, it is necessary for the people to understand the elimination time of the drug.
There are factors that determine how long the drug will stay in your system. Although the half-life of Baclofen could be between 2 to 4 hours, some people can eliminate the drug from their body faster than others. Older people tend to take longer to eliminate the drugs from their body as compared to younger ones. The body mass and the dosage are other important factors that determine this. A high dosage of Baclofen intake can take longer to get eliminated from the body. Similarly, if someone takes Baclofen for an extended period of time, it will take longer for them to eliminate the drug as it starts getting accumulated in their body. The individual’s metabolism rate also determines how long the body will take to eliminate the drug as people with faster metabolism rate will eliminate Baclofen more quickly.
Baclofen cannot be detected in a normal drug test as it is a muscle relaxant. Unless it is specifically tested for, Baclofen is not detectable. When tested specifically, Baclofen can be detected in the blood for a day or less and as Baclofen is eliminated through urine, it can be detected in the urine screen for up to two days. When someone overdoses on Baclofen or uses it for getting high on it, the drug can stay in the blood and urine for at least 10 days in some cases.
Baclofen is an important medication that is used to treat people suffering from spasticity. It also works great as a must relaxant. When it is taken orally, Baclofen, it is taken several times a day and at the same time every day to treat spinal cord injuries and muscle spasms mainly. It can also be injected directly to get better results in severe cases. Since it is a generic medication, Baclofen is highly affordable. It is available at any drug store which makes it very easy to be abused for getting Baclofen high. Since Baclofen high is quite similar to one obtained with the abuse of narcotics, people are more prone to abusing it.
In order to avoid Baclofen high, it is important that the drug is taken as prescribed by the doctor and it is very important to be aware of the life-threatening risks of Baclofen withdrawal which can be worse in people who overdose or abuse it in order to get high.
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