Baclofen for Alcoholism

by Shelby Wall

Baclofen for Alcoholism

Recovery Without Walls specializes in advanced pharmacology for the successful resolution of alcoholism, drug addiction, chronic pain, and mental illness. By staying abreast of scientific discoveries in America and abroad, Dr. Kornfeld and the rest of the RWW team can offer cutting-edge, evidence-based care for even the most challenging cases. One facet of our program is a particularly innovative treatment for alcohol use disorder. Read on to learn about our use of baclofen for alcoholism recovery.

Baclofen Uses

Baclofen is a muscle relaxant prescribed for persistent spasms, cramps, or tightness. It is known by the brand names Fleqsuvy, Ozobax, Gablofen, and Lioresal. Unlike similar medications, baclofen is not a narcotic, and does not act on the brain’s opioid receptors. Instead, it alters the release of neurotransmitters to reduce electrical activity in the central nervous system, specifically within the brain and spinal cord.

For decades, most doctors saw baclofen as an older drug approved for medical use in the late 1970s. This perception changed when French-American cardiologist Olivier Ameisen published The End of My Addiction. Ameisen’s book details his battle with alcoholism, which he chose to treat on his own. By experimenting with baclofen, he experienced relief from cravings and other symptoms. This book sent ripples throughout the recovery community. In the 2000s, baclofen gained new life as a safe, incredibly effective treatment for alcoholism.

Baclofen for Alcohol Withdrawal: History

To understand the efficacy of baclofen for alcoholism, we have to unpack a bit of neuroscience. The nervous system is regulated by a neurotransmitter called GABA: gamma-aminobutyric acid. Along with glutamate, this neurotransmitter allows most major bodily systems to communicate. GABA works by binding to two different receptors: GABAA and GABAB. When a person drinks excessively, alcohol mimics the body’s natural neurotransmitters and activates the brain’s GABAA receptors. To combat this, the medical staff at Recovery Without Walls prescribe baclofen. This medicine stimulates GABAB, which balances out withdrawal symptoms and helps patients to deal with cravings.

Baclofen for Alcoholism Treatment: Side Effects

Side effects are minor and comparable to other drugs in this class. Those taking baclofen may experience sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, dry mouth, or vision problems. Serious side effects occur in less than 1 in 10,000 cases, but your physician will ask you to be watchful for any changes to eye or skin color, breathing difficulties, or increased muscle spasms. However, baclofen is a generally safe alternative for those seeking alcohol withdrawal symptom relief.

Baclofen and Alcohol: Warning

Since it is a muscle relaxer, those taking baclofen for alcoholism should avoid depressants like benzodiazepines, sleep medications, opioids, and barbiturates. Naturally, they should also avoid alcohol.

Baclofen for Alcoholism Treatment: Side Effects

Recovery Without Walls delivers proven treatment for substance use disorder, chronic pain, and mental health issues. Members of our medical team are in touch with international advancements in addiction medicine, making our center a go-to for those seeking cutting-edge care. Our use of baclofen for alcoholism is one such innovation. To learn more about our globally minded approach, contact our office today.

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