Discussions that mention valium

Cerebral Palsy board


Hi,
I figured I'd start this thread because in reading through some of the posts over the last couple of weeks I've noticed a lot of curiosity about the different types of muscle relaxers out there. Please share your experiences.

I've taken baclofen, flexeril, valium and zanaflex for the spasms and tightness associated with my spastic diplegia. In my situation Zanaflex has seemed to work the best. I've taken Blaclofen orally and did not respond well to it. It seemed to make me a little more rigid. Is this common when starting Baclofen? I've heard some really good things about the Baclofen pump and was seriously considering it until I took it orally.

Please share your experiences.

Thanks
Mcard
mcard,

Since you were seriously considering the baclofen pump you probably know a lot about it already, but I'll share what I know for the benefits of others, if nothing more. Oral baclofen doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier very well, which is why higher doses are required, and those doses can involve a good bit of drowsiness. Lioresal, which is the brand name of the baclofen that is delivered through the baclofen pump, is delivered right into the intrathecal space of the spine. (That is the the space where people are given epidurals and where spinal taps are performed.) Delivering baclofen right into the intrathecal space is much more effective, so much lower doses can provide much greater results, without the drowsiness associated with oral baclofen. (Lioresal is measured in micrograms, as opposed to oral baclofen, which is measured in milligrams.)

That being said, intrathecal baclofen might help you, mcard, even though oral baclofen didn't seem to help. Candidates for the baclofen pump are given a "test injection," which is usually 50 micrograms. That's alot of intrathecal baclofen to be given at one time (the equivalent of 1200 mcg/day, whereas the normal daily dose is between 450-900mcg/day) and should give a pretty quick indication of whether the baclofen pump will or will not work for candidates. A second test can be performed if the first test is inconclusive.

I like the pump. It gives me more relief than oral baclofen did. I don't have to worry about being consistent with three daily doses of oral baclofen. I'm getting a steady dose of intrathecal baclofen with the pump. The pump can be programmed to give more or less of a dose at certain times of the day. I'm due for a dosage increase, and whenever my doctor increases the dose I usually experience a spike in the effects for a day or two, with the effects leveling off after then. I don't find myself stretching my right leg periodically throughout the day to relieve pain and discomfort, as I did before I received the pump.

You can set off metal detectors with the pump implanted. That happened to me when I entered a local government building! Medtronic, the manufacturer of the pump, gives implantees a nice little card explaining the deal so you aren't arrested and thrown into a pit should your pump set off a metal detector. (Fortunately for me the guard at the metal detector I set off was lazy and didn't want to bother with me after I whipped out my card; he just passed me on through.) You can also develop a rare, but serious, condition with an overdose or an underdose of intrathecal baclofen. Having a "stand-by" supply of oral baclofen or valium in case of a low or empty pump, or of pump malfunction, is a very good idea. If the pump is running low it might not be able to deliver a consistent amount of baclofen, so that is something implantees might want to discuss with their physicians when scheduling refills.