What is targeted drug delivery with an intrathecal pump?
Intrathecal drug delivery is a route of medication administration that delivers the medicine directly into the spinal fluid. This is achieved using a small pump that is surgically implanted under the skin and connected to a thin catheter inserted into the fluid-filled sac that houses the spinal cord. Intrathecal drug delivery is typically used for patients with chronic pain that has failed multiple conservative treatment options, including medication, injections, and physical therapy. It can also be used in patients in whom medications effectively treat the pain but cause intolerable side effects. Since the medication is delivered directly into the spinal fluid, pain relief can be achieved with very small doses of medication.
Am I a candidate for an intrathecal pump?
The decision to introduce an intrathecal pump into your treatment is an individual one, and should be discussed with your physician. In general, you may be a candidate for an intrathecal pump if:
• Conservative treatment has failed (medications, injections, physical therapy)
• Surgery is not indicated for your pain complaint
• Pain medications are effective but cause significant side effects
• You do not have any uncontrolled psychiatric problems
• You have had a trial dose of intrathecal medication and it was effective