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Dec. 2, 2019 – Baclofen, meanwhile, is a muscle relaxant and antispasmodic medication used to treat spasms, pain, and stiffness, including in those with spinal and central nervous system disorders. It is also given to people with lower back pain, “despite evidence of adverse effects without long term benefit,” the scientists wrote. Regular use has been linked to dependency and withdrawal, and overdose of the drug to respiratory depression, seizures, and heart problems. The study did not include data on baclofen prescription rates, but the researchers said use has been rising. Suicidal thoughts are among the potential side effects of both drugs, and chronic pain itself is linked to suicide attempts. This comes against a backdrop of suicide rates in the U.S. rising by 30 percent between 1999 and 2016, according to research cited by the scientists.

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