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Toxicological considerations in the prescription of baclofen for the treatment of substance use disorders

Abstract : Introduction: For many years, applications for baclofen have widened in the treatment of substance abuse disorder (SUD), mainly alcohol use disorder, with a growing rate of off-label prescriptions in Europe. Clinical effects seem to be both a decrease of craving and anxiety, leading to a decrease of drug or alcohol consumption. We described baclofen poisoning circumstances, therapeutic options and outcomes when used in substance use disorders. Areas covered: This review summarizes the toxicological considerations where baclofen was prescribed in humans for substance use or abuse disorder in randomized clinical trials, case series, case reports and observational studies between 1990 and 2020 according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systemic reviews and Meta-Analysis. Expert opinion: The most frequent cause of severe intoxication is self-poisoning. A dose above 180 mg are expected to cause severe toxicity and death. The treatment is only symptomatic as no antidote is available. Off-label prescription remains unsafe because the optimal dose is not known and varies greatly between patients. As SUD are frequently associated with psychiatric disorders and such patients may have suicidal thoughts, the risk of self-poisoning is high. Potential co-ingestants should also be considered, especially CNS depressants, and they need to be closely monitored.
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Submitted on : Thursday, January 28, 2021 - 3:18:17 PM
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Julien Reynoard, Corinne Schmitt, Romain Torrents, Nicolas Simon. Toxicological considerations in the prescription of baclofen for the treatment of substance use disorders. Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism and Toxicology, Taylor & Francis, 2020, 16, pp.309 - 317. ⟨10.1080/17425255.2020.1740681⟩. ⟨inserm-03124223⟩



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