Muscle relaxant advice

Hi All

Recently I have been experiencing worse cramps at night. Last night was bad, as usual in my left foot, my big toe painfully at right angles to my foot, and the foot rigid and pale. My left foot still feels stiff now with a slight constant tug on my big toe. I also have very solid calf muscles, which are rarely relaxed. I find the night time cramp very distressing as it is very painful and it feels very alien and I miss out on several hours of sleep.

I have ppms, so far relatively stable since first symptoms in July 2009. I am having my yearly five minute chat with a consultant or consutant underling or ms nurse (I never know which until I get there) in mid november and I’m going to ask for something to help with these cramps. However I would like to go prepared with a bit of knowledge.

Are there muscle relaxants you can take when needed? How quickly do they work? I’m concerend about side effects and as I am on the heavy side with a blood pressure that tends to be a bit high I don’t want to take anything that will exacerbate these issues. I also work full time so need to be able to get up in the morning without feeling too groggy.

Would appreciate any advice.

Kind regards - J.

I am sure there are stronger drugs available, but I find 375mg of magnesium eases problems with spasm and cramp. Regular stretching can also help.

Personally, I’ve never felt at all groggy on Baclofen, although it’s not generally considered to be a “take as needed” drug. You’re meant to take it regularly, for best effect. When I first started, I reckon I could have got away with “take as needed”, as improvement was noticeable as little as 20 minutes after taking it. However, this happy state of affairs has not lasted long - not because of tolerance to Baclofen (you can be on it a long time without developing significant tolerance, or loss of effectiveness), but because my cramps and spasticity have got worse, so the odd tablet “now and then” most certainly isn’t enough.

I haven’t noticed any weight gain with Baclofen, or heard it reported by others. (I know Gapapentin & Pregabalin are both widely associated with weight gain, and have so far resisted them for that reason).

I don’t know about blood pressure. I haven’t scrutinised absolutely all the possible side-effects of Baclofen, to see if BP is among them, but I know my BP was fine last time it was checked, and I’ve never been specifically cautioned about Baclofen & BP (the reason I was having it checked is 'cos I’m on the pill, not 'cos of Baclofen).

Some people do find Baclofen induces weakness or drowsiness, but I can’t say I’ve ever noticed either of these things, so please don’t assume it will happen to you. I have so few side effects that the only way I can tell if I’ve taken them is if I haven’t, and my legs start cramping up! Apart from that, I would have no idea I was on them!

Hope this helps.


Thanks Whammel - do you take the magnesium when you get spasm/cramp or do you take it daily? Do you get any side effects?

I do do some regular simple stretching exercises, maybe I should do more.

Best wishes - J.

Thanks Tina - that’s reassuring.

Best wishes - J.

I too take baclofen for muscle spasms/cramps. Ive increased my dose to 40mg and can go up to 80mg if necessary. They work fine for me. Do ask for it to see if you can tolerate it. Im not sleepy with it either like Anitra. Strange how some drugs make some very weary and with other people not many effects other than positive.

Think its because we are each as different as the pills we take.

Hope your spasms soon subside, theyre very painful, yet help is out there.

take care,



Thanks Bren.

Best wishes - J.

I take it every day, but it is a beneficial supplement and shouldn’t cause any problems. Be careful not to take too much though, because it can act as a laxative in high doses.

Baclofen for me. Like Anitra I could take it as needed in the beginning and felt the benefit after about twenty minutes. Now I am on 80mg each day. I have never felt any side effects.



Hi, I also take baclofen…30mg at night. I have been up as high as 70mg…but this is a drug that has be juggled to find your best dosage.

Docs usually tell patients to find their own level. But beware…too much can cause falls

I also take quinine…300mg at night.

These 2 drugs do help, but not 100%.

Why not try drinking tonic water, as it has quinine in it.

luv Pollx

Thanks Whammel - I’d heard about the laxative effect, which put me off as I don’t ususally need any help in that regard! I have a magnesium spray, which I stopped using, you are supposed to be able to absorb magnesium through your skin. I’m trying that again and if that doesn’t work I’ll try a low dose of magneseum and see how I get on before my neuro appointment in Nov.

Thanks Mary

Thanks Poll - I did force myself to drink some tonic yesterday, but I really hate the taste, even with alcohol, ice and a slice! My Dad also suggested I try quinine sulfate. I’ll ask next time I’m in the chemist - can you get it over the counter?

I had a much better night last night - no cramps. I put a hot water bottle in the bed before getting in, to warm up the area around my feet and that may have helped. I think if my feet get cold they are more likely to cramp.

If none of the above works I’ll ask the neuro in nov about Baclofen.

Best wishes - J.