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Thread: natural alternatives to Baclofen

  1. #1

    natural alternatives to Baclofen

    Does anyone know any natural, non-phamracuetical alternatives to Baclofen? I would like to take my man off this drug, he is dependent heavily and i am concern of the long-term affects upon him. Would like to try something natural, if that exists. Thank you.

  2. #2
    My neurologist recommends the amino acid derivative taurine 2000mg/day for spasticity, but she said it doesn't benefit everyone (it did not do anything for me). If taurine is going to help, it will do so right away - no long waiting period or build-up. Here's some information about taurine: http://www.vitamins-supplements.org/...ds/taurine.php

    Remember that quitting Baclofen requires a supervised weaning process. I do not know if Baclofen and taurine can be used together, although taurine appears to be quite safe on its own. Even though it's unusual (in my experience) to find a doctor knowledgeable about dietary supplements, it would still be wise to discuss this issue with your husband's doctor.
    MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions

  3. #3
    Ditto on a slow wean from Baclofen. I am not aware of any other non-prescription herb or drug that can replace the effects of baclofen, other than MJ (which does not help everyone).

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    KLD, when you say 'slow wean', I think I understand. he has been on 40 mgs of baclofen and this week has cut back to 20 mgs. How long should he go on the half strength dose before he cuts that off?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Prerun's Avatar
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    There really isn't much for good alternatives to baclofen when it comes to relieving spasticity and spasms. Marijuana, sex (male-orgasm), ROM, booze/alcohol and prescriptions such as muscle relaxers are the natural options besides what has been already said. As previously stated, MJ doesn't work in all cases. It comes with it's own issues, so mj isn't a great long term option. Assuming your "man" can ejaculate/orgasm, he may get some temporary relief of a couple of hours. ROM can help, but very much like everything else, it is only temporary. Alcohol isn't a great option and other prescriptions don't really solve your problem.
    I hate taking prescriptions, but my spasms were crazy. I opted for a baclofen pump a few years ago and found it to be one of the best things I ever done.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sarahg View Post
    KLD, when you say 'slow wean', I think I understand. he has been on 40 mgs of baclofen and this week has cut back to 20 mgs. How long should he go on the half strength dose before he cuts that off?
    We recommend reducing dose by 1/3 weekly (no more than that) over a month-6 weeks.

    (KLD)

  7. #7
    Senior Member tooley's Avatar
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    when asking for advice here it helps the people offering it to know what level/type of spinal cord injury the person has. Completing your profile (or that portion of it) makes it easier for us to understand your/his situation.

    You mention long-term effects - here's my take on baclofen. Some people need it, as others have said there aren't a lot of effective alternatives. It doesn't sound like he's on an extremely dose, "40 mgs" - if that's a daily dose he probably can do without. Weening extremely important. I went cold turkey off daily 30mg (5mg every 4 hour) and went batshit crazy for about 3 weeks. But I can affirm it did have a few adverse effects that outweighed the positives of relaxing my spasticity and tone. It is a muscle relaxer. Your brain is your biggest muscle. I felt I was in a daze the entire time (2.5 years) I was on it. I went off it and immediately the brain-fog lifted. The other incredibly positive effect as it worked its way out of my system was an increase in muscle strength. I am a C7 quad (functioning C8 complete) who was/is active in wheelchair rugby, weightlifting & swimming. I had a huge strength gain in functioning major muscle groups - on my shoulder and bench press. I developed my work-outs to include a lot of the smaller stabilizing muscles and my strength grew exponentially when compared to the pitiful gains I experienced while on baclofen. Even my lung capacity for swimming and cardiovascular for wheelchair rugby increased noticeably almost immediately.

    The reason I enquire about his level of injury is to know if this advice has any bearing on how/if it can be applied to his situation. If he's a C2 quad then I don't think there's much hope in getting off the dope. But if he's able to I strongly recommend physical activity as a means to an end. When I maintain some level of activity (even pushing a manual wheelchair vigorously for 15-20 minutes during lunch-hour) I am far less rigid/stiff/twitchy from sitting around all day. If I can get in the pool first thing in the morning I am loose like mother goose all day.. Something about being in free-float in the pool, no pressure anywhere on the body, I'll straighten out like a piece of lumber, my legs will shake wildly for 30 seconds, then relax and stay flaccid all day. It makes transferring and dressing much easier not having to fight the tone in my legs. I find swimming to have other benefits too - very good for the skin and I swear the chlorine cleans out my pee-hole to help minimize UTI's caused by in-and-out ("intermittent") catheterization.

    As mentioned above the male O has anecdotal evidence of being a great spasm reliever, sadly most SCI's will never know. From my standpoint exercise is a far better investment of time and effort than nutting anyway - physical activity has far-reaching greater benefits than the psychological effect of busting a nut, even if the effect on spasticity is the same.

    Good luck to him and you, he is lucky to have you!

  8. #8
    The only way Baclofen can be useful is from a pump and pin pointing the area needing the drug.
    I think from my personal opinion is that its a waste and doesn't help anything. I was forced to use it when I was in rehab and over time maxed out the dose. I was having hallucinations with it at night and felt like I was in a cloud during the day. Basically I felt doped up and lacked motivation. The spasms never changed.

    When I came home I slowly took myself off the drug. I noticed a rebound with more severe spasms but that lasted a few weeks as I lowered the dose. It took me a few months but once off I didn't notice much of a difference as far as spasms were concerned.

    I honestly think that the body will adapt over time. I still get spasms but for the most part I can control them. They have not been a huge issue.

    I feel most people are put on this drug as a knee jerk reaction when dx with SCI.

  9. #9
    Using a pump does not pin point an area. It allows the drug to hit the central nervous system directly- allowing for much smaller doses to be used.

    Some people do get relief from baclofen and others do not. Initially after an injury, many people find spasticity very uncomfortable and baclofen is the first drug that is generally used to treat it after the not phjarmaceutical agents have been tiried. Some people can adjust to the new sensation - others can not.

    You do need to know that ALL medications have side effects - including baclofen. It is important to know them.

    I would hope that most people are not put on the drug without being evaluated for it prior.

    ckf

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse View Post
    Using a pump does not pin point an area. It allows the drug to hit the central nervous system directly- allowing for much smaller doses to be used.

    Some people do get relief from baclofen and others do not. Initially after an injury, many people find spasticity very uncomfortable and baclofen is the first drug that is generally used to treat it after the not phjarmaceutical agents have been tiried. Some people can adjust to the new sensation - others can not.

    You do need to know that ALL medications have side effects - including baclofen. It is important to know them.

    I would hope that most people are not put on the drug without being evaluated for it prior.

    ckf
    When I said Pin point thats exactly what I was talking about. Using mcg instead of mg and from going systemic to focal on the spinal column.

    True everything has a side effect but most tell you that baclofen has very little side effects and down play it like its harmless. The two medical rehab facilities I went to really pushed the drug and from Therapists to doctors acted like it was a wonder drug. I was reluctant to go on it but did because of how they expressed its virtues. When I maxed out the dose and told them the issues I was having with the drug. They acted like I was nuts. That baclofen doesn't do that....

    I realize that some people have severe spasms and will need something to make life safer and a little bit more comfortable. I just hope that they don't rely on these drugs forever. I truly believe that our bodies do adapt.

    So getting back to the original question I would try and get off of it slowly, very slowly. Realize that coming off he might rebound with more severe spasms for a few weeks. I know I did. For me this slowly passed and I kept lowering my dose till completely off.
    I still get spasms but now they are because of something. This helps me be more in tune with my body. Spasms seem to help me realize something is up with my body.
    Last edited by cfx; 01-08-2015 at 06:05 PM.

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