Baclofen helps in 3 ways: First, it is an anti-craving medication, then it reduces anxiety since there is much anxiety over quitting drinking. Lastly, it allows patients safely withdraw from alcohol.
Dr. Ameisen, in his book The End of My Addiction, describes how he came across a New York Times article about a cocaine addict being prescribed Baclofen to control spasms and noticing that it substantially reduced his cravings. Maybe the same thing would happen with alcohol, Ameisen thought.
He was forced to undertake a self-case study since he could find no one to research the effects of high doses of Baclofen and alcoholism. The drug manufacturer recommends only 30 mg a day to avoid side effects. That did nothing for craving. Dr. Ameisen found that the dosage that suppressed his craving was 270 mg daily. But a maintenance dose of 120 mg daily controlled anxiety and prevented cravings from recurring. He added 40 mg as needed in stressful situations.
The two side effects of Baclofen are drowsiness and muscle weakness.