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 Post subject: My Baclofen Experience (So Far)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:00 pm
Posts: 239
Location: Friday Harbor, WA
I guess I should catch everyone up on my experience...

I tried and had reasonable success with TSM. My drinking was down to tolerable levels, on-and-off, but I never really achieved what I considered total success. I attribute that to the fact that I have comorbid ADD and constantly forgot to take my Naltrexone until I got into my car after work (20 minutes before I started drinking - not enough time for the Nal to start working). My habit was always to grab a little 200ml bottle of something and sip a single drink on the way home from work (never drinking enough to get tipsy, much less drunk). The rest I'd finish at home and then invaribly run to the store for a bottle of wine or a 6-pack of something. The problem with this is that the Naltrexone didn't have enough time to work before I started drinking so I was constantly backsliding.

Last November I discovered Dr. Ameisen's "The End of My Addiction" and was instantly interested. I contacted him by e-mail and asked for a referral in the U.S. He sent me to Dr. Fred Levin in Chicago, who I immediately e-mailed. Dr. Levin is a respected psychiatrist and associate professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

Dr. Levin e-mailed me back and we made an appointment to "meet" by telephone. We had a 45-minute conversation by phone and he agreed to mail me a prescription for Baclofen. I started the baclofen as instructed (5mg day 1, 10mg day 2, 20mg day 3, increasing by 20mg / week). We followed up with a second call after a couple of weeks. He did bill me for the two calls - $150 each - but they were full-length "sessions". He has not billed me for prescription refills since then.

I had him prescribe 10mg pills instead of 20mg. He initially balked, expressing concern about the price. I explained to him that Baclofen is on the $4 list at Wal-Mart (and other pharmacies) so in the end it was cheaper that way. He prescribed "Baclofen 10mg, Take as Directed, Dispense 200 Pills". This came up to $22.50 at Wal-Mart. The same amount of medicine in 20mg pills would be $77. As with naltrexone, I self-pay to keep this off my insurance company's radar. Wal-Mart expressed no concern over the amount of medicine, even though it was an out-of-state doctor. Dr. Levin told me that if questioned, I should tell the pharmacist that Dr. Levin was my doctor when I lived in Chicago and that the medicine was for muscle spasms in my leg.

Side note: As with my Naltrexone, I found compliance with my baclofen doses difficult. I would often forget doses and take them late, which would push my evening dose too late into the night to take before I went to bed. I would wake up jittery in the morning for lack of baclofen. Taking my morning dose would fix that after about an hour. Baclofen is not "addictive" in the sense that you crave it if you don't take it. But if you miss a dose, a series of physical symptoms (mostly shakiness) make it clear that you *need* to take it. The result of missing doses and messed up timing meant that my progession to higher doses was constantly sidetracked - for many months.

My initial experience with Baclofen was that I slept like a baby but got tired around mid-afternoon. Profoundly drowsy, in fact, but it passed after about half an hour. This happened for several days each time I increased my dose. At around 120mg / day, I started getting arthritis like pain in my knuckles that was mostly relieved by "popping" them. Strange. Not horribly painful but definitely there and probably related (I hope).

I made no effort to reduce or quit drinking and consumed my typical 200ml plus a couple or three more drinks in the form of beer or wine each evening.

So six weeks ago I got a shiny new iPhone 4 (my first iPhone) and lookie here, I can set an unlimited number of reminders and alarms! The solution to my ADD! My old phone could only do one and I used that to wake up. I could finally get back on track.

The accepted way to take baclofen is 4x per day (i.e., every six hours). Inasmuch as I want 8 hours of sleep each night, that wouldn't work. So I unilaterally decided to switch to dividing my dose into 3 equal doses 3 times per day. I set alarms for 8 A.M., 4 P.M and midnight. This has worked *very* well for me since then.

Last week I upped my dose to 210mg, three doses of 70mg each, morning, afternoon and night. As with each time I increase my dose, I feel slightly loopy on my drive to work, very loopy in the early afternoon, tired in the mid-afternoon, then take my late afternoon dose. Interestingly, the afternoon dose doesn't affect me as much as the morning dose, and I'm generally okay into the evening and night. I then take my midnight dose and sleep soundly, waking refreshed in the morning (not groggy at all), usually before my alarm goes off.

Over the weekend I upped my dose to 240mg / day.

On Tuesday of this week I had a good/bad experience. I tied one on Monday night. I drank a six-pack and then started into another and had 4 more. Thank God I had it on hand because I would have gotten into my car and gotten more. My biggest alcohol fear is hurting someone by driving intoxicated.

I basically passed out Monday night and on Tuesday morning woke up much earlier than normal, feeling like sh!t and blacked-out as to the night before. So sh!tty that I called into work with a bullsh!t story as to why I'd be late. This *never* happens to me - I've never missed work because of a hangover. Well maybe once, I don't remember.

So when I woke up (about 5 A.M) I took a dose of Baclofen. But then when my 8 A.M. reminder went off, I mistakenly took a second full dose. I didn't realize it until about noon when I was at work and felt like I'd had a fifth of Scotch. I felt *horrible*, sort of a drunk, woozy, sleepy, drugged feeling. I skipped my afternoon dose, scared of what might happen if I took it.

Normally if I tie one on, I'm perfectly fine to drink by the next evening. Any guilt associated with it passes by lunchtime the next day. As always, my sinking, guilty feeling passed, but what happened Tuesday night was remarkable...

I had little desire to drink. I happened to have a single cold beer in the garage fridge and drank it. Sipped it. And had no desire to go get more (and didn't). Normally one drink would send me into irresistable urges to go get more. Instead I read, took my evening dose and then went to sleep. I woke up feeling great.

Wednesday night, same story but without the drink. No desire to drink at all. I was even at the grocery store and passed the beer/wine section numerous times and didn't want it (normally unheard of).

Thursday at the store I did have a twinge of desire so bought a six-pack of those little 6-oz beer cans (equivalent to 3 beers). I finished all of them by 10 P.M. but had no desire to get any more (also unheard of). So I read and went to sleep.

Yesterday we had a company picnic out in the heat and by the end of the day a beer sounded really good. So after the picnic I bought a six-pack of regular sized beers. I opened one and sipped on it on the way home. Halfway through the drive I realized I hadn't taken a sip of my beer in 20 minutes. So I finished it. When I got home I put the rest in the outside fridge, surfed a bit, read a bit and went to bed, the other five beers still out in the fridge.

I might have one later today. I certainly don't feel like one right now.

I feel like I'm on the cusp of *something* - like I have hit or am about to hit Ameisen's "magical dose".

I will keep everyone posted.


RV

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Zero Alcohol for 3+ years


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 Post subject: Re: My Baclofen Experience (So Far)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:52 pm
Posts: 121
Location: North Carolina USA
Hi N101CS,

I ran across some of your posts on MWO a few months ago and wondered how you were doing. Thanks for the update. It sounds like you are close to the switch.

I hit mine about two weeks ago. I had to go very high - 380mg/d (4.6mg/kg). Even then, I just had to quit. For me, there was both addiction and habit, and I had to willfully break with the habit of daily drinking. I quit on July 15, not really thinking I could do it. Guess what - it was easy! Cravings crept in from time to time (sometimes when I messed up my dosage), but after about a week, the cravings were gone. I had planned to titrate back down slowly, but found that it was OK to titrate back quickly. I am now starting my fourth week AF, and am taking 120 - 160 mg/day. I take nothing until around 7:00, then I take 120mg. Tonight I had some mild cravings, so I took another 40mg about 9:00.

I did not feel a sharp transition. I just decided to go AF, and never looked back. I should have tried it earlier.

It sounds like you are getting there. I hope so. Good luck!

Best,
-wort

_________________
TSM started 1/22/2010; Wks 1-6: 78u/wk
Baclofen + TSM started 3/5/10; Wks 7-25: 52u/wk
Alcohol free (more or less) and indifferent since 7/15/2010


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 Post subject: Re: My Baclofen Experience (So Far)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:25 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 5:00 pm
Posts: 239
Location: Friday Harbor, WA
Wort -

Thanks for the great info on your situation. The idea of habit versus addiction had occurred to me. I think my drinking is very habit driven. I never, ever, for example, crave anything during the work day. When the afternoon whistle blows I'm off to the liquor store for my 200ml.

I think I'm go to try what you did - fight the craving if it pops up. To the extent that it has it hasn't been overwhelming like in the past.

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 Post subject: Re: My Baclofen Experience (So Far)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:52 pm
Posts: 121
Location: North Carolina USA
Hi RV,

There is a guy on MWO - Tiptronic_ct - that succceeded with baclofen a while back. I ran across some of his early posts the other day when he was just going AF at around the same dosage you are at. Take a look, starting at
http://www.mywayout.org/community/f20/c ... 35995.html

Good luck!
-wort

_________________
TSM started 1/22/2010; Wks 1-6: 78u/wk
Baclofen + TSM started 3/5/10; Wks 7-25: 52u/wk
Alcohol free (more or less) and indifferent since 7/15/2010


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 Post subject: Re: My Baclofen Experience (So Far)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:39 pm
Posts: 872
Hey boys!
N101CS - so excited for your progress on BAC and hope this is the real deal for you!
Wort - you HTS and didn't shout it from the rooftops?! Mi amigo, que lastima!!

Both of you are better men than me. I couldn't do that wooziness and weight gain - I got up to 120 mgs and threw in the towel. UGH to the 10th power!! I am now excited to start Topamax. But not to digress, so very happy to read this thread and see where you guys are!! YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!!

And hey - I now have a HUGE supply of BAC I am ready to sell on ebay - or here. LOL Any takers?! Keep us posted me droogies - so happy for you both!

XO

_________________
Began TSM 2/09 ave 35 - 50 units/wk
Months 6 - 12 @ 100mgs
2/10 Dropped to 50mgs; units same
4/10 stopped NAL & started BAC thru River
6/10 up to 120 mgs BAC w/ MAJOR SEs
7/10 titrating off BAC
8/10 starting Topamax w/ Dr.


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 Post subject: Re: My Baclofen Experience (So Far)
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 4:38 am 
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