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Old 10-27-2010, 09:06 AM
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Default Which type of alcohol craving does baclofen mainly address?

Hey everyone, I'd like to mention two types of alcohol craving, and ask which type of craving you guys have found baclofen to be most effective against.

One type of craving is the urge to drink simply because you have a problem with alcohol, maybe set off by triggers like memories of drinking or the sight or smell of alcohol. Maybe seeing others drinking or having it in the house could be triggers. I imagine that baclofen's "switch" and the indifference to alcohol it creates could stop people drinking due to these sorts of cravings.

Another type of craving is desperately wanting to drink as a way of temporarily dealing with underlying emotional pain or anxiety. This is the type of craving I get for alcohol, probably because I first started drinking heavily as a temporary night-time period of relief from depression and anxiety. I am unsure whether baclofen even at high doses really has a marked effect on this type of alcohol craving, since being indifferent to alcohol may not stop this sort of desire to drink.

I have taken baclofen in low doses since I became AF but haven't tried sustained high-dose therapy. I'd be interested in anyone's opinion on this, since I am seeing a doctor soon who is pretty relaxed about prescribing medications if he genuinely thinks they will help a patient, and I am considering going back to trying high-dose baclofen due to some remaining cravings for alcohol (I have tried most antidepressants and haven't found them helpful for my issues by the way).
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:44 AM
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I think Publius put it best:

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Originally Posted by Publius View Post
baclofen - Baclofen in my estimation is the ultimate alcohol dependency treatment. Not only is the efficacy rate high, but when it works, it seems to be absolute. Baclofen by many accounts, not only treats the alcoholism, but also treats the underlying causes of the disease, namely, debilitating anxiety. It is my belief that this is the very reason why baclofen has shown such success. There is a large subset of alcoholics, myself included, whose problem stems directly from lifelong struggles with anxiety, and the only cure that we have found, however fleeting, is self-medication with alcohol. Baclofen is the first thing that truly comprehensively treats that underlying condition (something that SSRI's and other meds failed to do) making the need for alcohol obsolete. If you don't feel like this underlying condition includes you, baclofen may not (or may, this is obviously conjecture of mine constructed from the stories of others) work for you. As for the side effects of baclofen, for me they have been very mild. I've been as sharp as ever at work, and I wouldn't let the SE's dissuade you from this as an option. I realize that they vary from person to person, but I also think that a slow titration schedule (start at 10mg/day for a week 2x/day and increase by 20mg every week, after the first week admin 3x/day) has many benefits, not the least of which are diminished side effects.

For me the two types are mostly indistinguishable. Pain and anxiety are omnipresent facts of life; because of this, and after years of daily drinking, the habit is pretty well learned as well.

Baclofen has undergone trials for OCD and PTSD with good results, so there is precedent for it's use as an anxiolytic. I've also used a lot of anti-depressants, none of which had any effect like baclofen has on my general sense of well-being. For me, Baclofen doesn't suppress cravings. It puts me in a state of mind where alcohol and narcotics become irrelevant.

I'd say give it a go. The side-effects will be the biggest challenge, but most go away. Good luck.
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Last edited by guardian; 10-27-2010 at 10:50 AM..
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:10 PM
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For me, both. It's wiped out my anxiety, totally. And for those other cravings, the kind where you'll knock over old ladies or drive a half hour in a snowstorm to get your booze, it works on those, too. I find the former more difficult, tho. There is a huge void after sobriety, when you find that you need to add coping tools to your toolbox for situations such as these.
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Old 10-27-2010, 05:54 PM
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Rats relapse for 3 distinct reasons:
1Exposure to the addictive substance
2Cues of place
3Stress.
Obviously for people the relapse goes from 2 or 3 through the exposure and the "game is on".
Baclofen seems to work for both 2 and 3. I am not sure if it helps with #1.
What you are describing are cues and stress so it should at least help with those things in your life.
If you are comfortably abstinent on your current dose don't try to go higher. I believe my "switch" is at about 20 mg/day. On that I am comfortably and securely abstinent. If I even worry that i may drink I take an extra 10 mg pill. The key is knowing and committing and being ready with a plan for any sneak attack of our addiction. The bac certainly gives me the best chance for that.
All the best. I like your posts.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:29 PM
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I don't think #1 would last past a detox (three days). I think, at least in my own case, #2 would make me drive through a blinding snow storm to get relief. Bac treats #2 for sure - all the time, all day long, all night long.

You might want to clarify what you mean by "high dose." Anything over 60-80 mg per day is considered "high dose" in medicine. On this forum, it could mean 400 mg per day. What are you considering?
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:48 PM
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Thanks everyone for the advice, it does seem as if baclofen can help with the types of cravings I get. I didn't keep on with high-dose use when I first had the chance due to insomnia as a severe side effect, but changing the dosing and frequency could reduce this problem. When I experienced insomnia I had been taking bac as a large dose soon before bed.

By the way, "high dose" in my case is hopefully going to be at or below the 80 mg/day "official maximum dose" in my country, although the doctor indicated he is prepared to go above this if needed. Since I have been AF for a fair while I'm hoping I don't need a dose up into the hundreds of milligrams. That would remove the issue of having to order it online.

I also agree with the need for other tools in order to deal with life when sober, and have so far been spending time on work and interests. Unfortunately my experiences so far with AA and counsellors/psychologists have been quite negative, but that doesn't mean ruling those out totally in future.
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Old 11-13-2010, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KABAM View Post
Bearing in mind, we live in the UK mind. Have heard that you can buy it over the counter in Spain so may give that a go when there with him in June,11.
If you buy it online from Goldpharma they send it from one of the EU countries that sells it OTC. I had it sent to me from both Greece and Germany. If you buy the brand Vioridon, which is the cheapest 10mg pack they have, you get it in blister packs in the branded box. It's more expensive than an NHS script charge but not by much if you buy 10 boxes at a time.

This way you know what you are getting as the pills are sealed in branded packs. It won't get stopped by customs as it's coming from a common tax area. And as it's coming in blister packs it doesn't rattle in the envelope which for some reason I really like.

ETA: Actually, depending on how many pills you are getting in each prescription the Goldpharma price could be cheaper. £70.82 for 500 10mg tablets. This will be less or more depending on the current €/£ exchange rate.

Last edited by AllyB; 11-13-2010 at 04:29 PM..
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:05 PM
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Mine was sent via Greece, and I've had some delayed due to the economic strikes there.
But at least we got to play some Hungry Hippos.

I made a recent order from Germany and it came in 4 days. It was fantastic.
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Old 11-13-2010, 06:21 PM
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i wanna play hungry hippos...
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Old 11-14-2010, 06:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KABAM View Post
Hi - what are the side-effects you have experienced? Thanks.
A grab-bag of anticholinergenic-type effects mostly: constipation, dry mouth, blurred vision, dizziness, working memory impairment, attention deficit, increased heart rate, urinary retention, high blood pressure, weird fluctuations in body temperature, shallow breathing, and visual "flashes". Also slight ED and bouts of hypomania, this is uncommon.
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