Baclofen is a relaxant of muscles. Its use is mainly for the treatment of spasms, spasticity of muscles as well as muscular stiffness. It can also treat a few types of pains – i.e., as long as the root cause of such pains is a muscular condition. Those who are living with multiple sclerosis or spinal cord related problems and injuries in their spinal region are more likely to develop these muscular discomforts. But, can this drug be used for hiccups – especially, to treat persistent spells of hiccups?

Hiccups are usually experienced through excitement of nerves and also muscles of your respiratory system. These discomforts may also be triggered due to sedation or a few metabolic problems. In some cases, your endocrinal system may react in a manner that results in hiccups. Most of the aforesaid causes may only show up as brief episodes of discomforts. Persistent spells are very rare in occurrence. In most instances, these are likely to stop within 36 hours. But, some forms of hiccups may last nearly 30 days; these are known as the industrious forms of hiccups. There are a few other forms which can even last for more than 40 days; these are labelled as persistent forms of hiccups.

Persistent hiccups and intake of baclofen

The longer versions of hiccups – i.e., persistent form of hiccups – can show up when your medullar region is disturbed and / or a nerve in your respiratory system is strained. The shorter spells are not a big worry. These can also occur when you have a heartburn (or, acid reflux), deprivation of sleep, dehydration, etc. But, longer spells are a matter of concern. Drugs such as baclofen are administered for the treatment of hiccups. Medical studies on how baclofen treats hiccups are actively underway. Experts believe that this drug regulates the nerves of your spinal cord; this action relieves the strain on muscles and brings about needful relief from hiccups.

In general, you may witness some relief in the first few hours, soon after taking baclofen. You need to remember that this drug can be taken either before or after a meal. It is recommended to take this drug under the guidance and supervision of a qualified medical practitioner. Your doctor may administer baclofen in low extremely low dosage forms – of say, 5 milligrams (mg), to start with. If your body develops any major side effects such as fits, convulsions or epileptic seizures, the drug is discontinued without any further delay.

Safe administration of baclofen for treating hiccups

On the other hand, if the initial doses of baclofen do not trigger any adverse reactions or side effects, dosages are increased in a gradual manner from 5 mg to 20 mg. You are advised to adhere to the medication plan and duration – as prescribed by your treating doctor. Some people may try taking baclofen in larger doses – i.e., much more than what has been prescribed to them. In such instances, the risks of an overdose are high. Signs of overdose include involuntary twitching of muscles, respiratory problems like wheezing, gasping or shortened breathing cycles, inflammation of oral organs such as lips, tongue or throat.

Upon noticing any of these adverse reactions and side effects, you need to contact your treating physician or pharmacist as soon as you possibly can. In case of inability to reach your medical team, you are advised to call 911 (if you are residing in the US); you can also consider reaching out to the FDA helpline seeking needful medical care and clinical attention on an emergency basis. If you are a resident of any of the Canadian provinces, you can reach out to Health Canada or to a poison control center located nearer to where you are living.

Baclofen can make you dizzy or drowsy. It is dangerous to do activities like driving or working on heavy machines, soon after taking baclofen. It is extremely unsafe to consume alcohol or cannabis / marijuana along with this drug. The aftereffects can be too very adverse; you may experience acute spells of dizziness, drowsiness, etc. At times, you may even pass out or faint. This is one reason why you need to tell your doctor about your daily habits and regular lifestyle. If drinking alcohol is a regular or a daily habit, you need to stay away from such habits.

How to discontinue the intake of baclofen?

The medication plan must never be stopped all of a sudden. An abrupt ending of intake of baclofen can lead to a few withdrawal problems. Common signs of withdrawal include fits, dizziness, loss of coordination, impairment of motor function, etc. So, never stop the medication plan without informing your treating physician or pharmacist. Your doctor will need to assess your medical condition and decide about the discontinuation of your medication plan. In such instances, the last few doses of the plan are tapered off to a lowest possible level – say, of 5 mg. As soon as your body gets used to the lower doses, the medicine is taken off your treatment plan. With this approach, the odds of withdrawal problems are low.

In sum, clinical research is underway to establish the mechanism of action of baclofen for the treatment of hiccups. This relaxant is believed to control the spinal nerves and relaxes the muscles that are excited. Once an overexcitement of muscles is reduced, this action stops the spells of hiccups. This drug can be consumed either after or before food. At the starting point of your medication plan, baclofen is given in extremely low dosage forms. Once your body accepts the active ingredients of this drug, dosage values are increased very gradually, over a period of time. Stay aware of the possible side effects of this drug – which can include seizures, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and a few other abdominal problems. If these side effects do not disappear on their own, talk to your treating doctor or the pharmacist. Those living in US can call 911, while those in Canada can reach out to a poison control center or contact Health Canada on an emergency basis.

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