Advantages Over Other Therapies
Drug delivery therapy offers advantages over other therapies for severe chronic pain:
- A screening test serves as a temporary evaluation period so you can see if drug delivery therapy relieves your pain before committing to long-term therapy
- It does not have to be a permanent procedure like back surgery. The system can be turned off or surgically removed if you do not like it or of you decide to pursue a different treatment
- Unlike oral medications, drug delivery therapy releases medication directly into the fluid surrounding your spinal cord rather than traveling throughout your body in your bloodstream. This may lead to fewer side effects, such as nausea and constipation
- Drug delivery therapy may provide relief when other treatments – like medications or injections – have not
Risks of Drug Delivery Therapy
The implanted pump and catheter are surgically placed under the skin. Surgical complications are possible and include infection, spinal fluid leak, and headache. You should not undergo the implant procedure if you have an active infection at the time scheduled for implant.
Once the infusion system is implanted, device complications may occur which may require surgery to resolve. Drug overdose or underdose can result because of these complications and have serious and even life-threatening adverse effects. Possible complications include the catheter or pump moving within the body or wearing through the skin. The catheter could leak, tear, kink, or become disconnected. The pump could stop because the battery has run out or because of failure of another part of the infusion system. Additionally, inflammatory masses have been reported at the tip of the catheter which may lead to complications, including paralysis. See Important safety information for more details. Also, please discuss the benefits and risks of this therapy with your doctor.
Currently we use Medtronic Intrathecal Pump Product
Medtronic offers the SynchroMed® II drug pump system for managing severe chronic pain. The system includes:
- Programmable drug pump – A battery-powered device that stores and dispenses medicine according to instructions programmed by your doctor
- Catheter – A thin, flexible tube that delivers pain medication from the pump to the fluid around the spinal cord
- Physician programmer – A computer at your doctor’s office that lets your doctor tailor your therapy to best meet your needs
- Personal therapy manager – A hand-held device that allows you to deliver the dosage of medication that your doctor prescribes
If a drug pump is an option for you, your doctor will work with you to select the pain treatment system that is most appropriate for your needs.