Baclofen is a CNS muscle relaxer, Alcohol effects the CNS.
Many with MS, for which I am one, can't tolerate alcohol. Over the years I have had different reactions: sometimes after just a few sips I will feel nauseas and flush, other times I have no reaction until I have had a half of a drink and once in awhile I have been able to enjoy one drink without any adverse reaction, however, my walking gets worse. For those reasons as well as some of my medications I have take don't drink or rarely drink, the last drink I had was 4 years ago.
Baclofen acts "sort of" like an anti-neurotransmitter to stop certain signalling mechanisms that lead to muscle tightness. It specifically targets one of the GABA (Gamma amino butyric acid) receptors which can affect mood. There are a number of these receptors and its action seem to specific to the B receptor. An example of targeting a similar receptor with a negative response would be an ice user. They go crazy because that drug sends that receptor into overdrive. Be grateful that Baclofen doesn't work like that!
There is some speculation that it may block action at the synapse but that is unproven.
There are a number of studies where Baclofen has been used to dampen the craving for alcohol with some success.
Alcohol has quite pervasive effects. In terms of muscle tightness, it binds to the ryanodine receptor which is a significant ion channel for calcium signalling. It is calcium that triggers strands of muscle fibres to bind to each other in contraction.
Some people notice that a drink makes them feel relaxed. At the extreme, some people have so much to drink they become "legless" and their arms and leg movements appear somewhat uncontrolled. That's because the alcohol has blocked the ryanodine receptor and they can't tighten their muscles. At the same time alcohol can affect mental perception. It impacts the A receptor in the GABA family which controls the metabolism of ethanol and that is why you fell awful after a big night out.
So Baclofen and Alcohol do different things. I couldn't manage more than 5mg of Baclofen once a day and don't use it now. Occasionally I have a drink but not much, not often. I do take Dantium which is much more powerful than Baclofen and if I am going to drink I skip the dose as they both target the Ryanadine receptor.
If you try Dantium you must exercise or you will think its made you worse as it will expose how weak you have become. You have to be pretty tight to need it but it works with exercise.
According to the prescribing information, increased sedation may occur when combined with alcohol.ebrownkirkland wrote:Hi all. I am on 5 mg of Baclofen twice a day for muscle spasms (so 10 mg total per day). I have been told not to drink while on this drug because it can cause sleepiness,
https://www.drugs.com/food-interactions ... essional=1
GENERALLY AVOID: Alcohol may potentiate some of the pharmacologic effects of CNS-active agents. Use in combination may result in additive central nervous system depression and/or impairment of judgment, thinking, and psychomotor skills.
MANAGEMENT: Patients receiving CNS-active agents should be warned of this interaction and advised to avoid or limit consumption of alcohol. Ambulatory patients should be counseled to avoid hazardous activities requiring complete mental alertness and motor coordination until they know how these agents affect them, and to notify their physician if they experience excessive or prolonged CNS effects that interfere with their normal activities.
Anyway, thank you so much for all the responses. I had only been taking the Baclofen on days that my spasms were bad, and I was only taking 5 mg at the time (10 when it was SUPER severe), but my neurologist wants me to take it every day because my spasms have been pretty much constant for the past three months, so now I'm taking 5 mg in the morning and 5 mg before bed. So far I have not had any issues but I have only had one beer on one occasion with dinner.
Scott1: Good to know about the Dantium. I wondered if I might have the same issues with taking Baclofen and exercising. I really want to get back to going to the gym (I had put the gym on hold while I figured out if my spasms were caused by some musculoskeletal means, but obviously now we know that's not the case), but was worried about how the Baclofen would interfere with things like running, boxing and kickboxing, and lifting weights.
A warning with Dantrium though. It really works so you will definitely have every weak muscle exposed and you will need to exercise to recover your strength or you will definitely think you have become a lot worse suddenly rather than better . If you can run and kickbox you may not be spastic enough to consider it. Dantrium is the same medication used in much higher doses in organ transplants to stop the recipients body spasming when the new organ is grafted.
I was reasonably spastic and only got a small benefit from Baclofen. I have struggled to understand how Baclofen targets the spine. The professor who gave me Dantrium said that but I can't work it out. Dantrium is much more global according to him. Perhaps that is why its better for me.
In either case, the best exercise is eccentric movement. Weights tend to make the muscle bunch up which is not what we want. We want strong, flexible muscles and thats why I much prefer Pilates.
Exercise and Physical Therapy helps with many of the symptoms of MS such as; spasticity (muscle spasms/stiffness, pain, fatigue, mobility/endurance, balance and cognition). When I was diagnosed I had lost most of my ability to walk, my Neurologist told me the best thing I could do is walk. I am very thankful I followed his advice as there is no doubt I would have been in a wheelchair very early on had I not. To this day I exercise. I weight train (I have a 4-station weight machine in my home) and I have an Elliptical I use.ebrownkirkland wrote: I haven't worked out since all these spasms started, so I have no idea how that will affect me.
Your dosage of Baclofen is just a very low beginning dose. I use Baclofen, and even what I take can be considered a low dose in comparison to some others. I take 20mg 3x a day.