Since the implanted drug infusion system releases prescribed amounts of pain medication directly to the receptors near the spine, pain symptoms can be controlled using a small fraction of the oral dose. Most people also experience fewer or more tolerable side effects, such as nausea and constipation, due to negligible levels of pain medication in the blood stream.1-3
Unlike medications that circulate throughout your body in your bloodstream, targeted drug delivery releases medication directly to the fluid around your spinal cord.
The system consists of a pump and catheter. The pump is a round device that stores and delivers pain medication. It is surgically placed in your abdomen. The catheter (a thin, flexible tube) is inserted into the intrathecal space surrounding the spinal cord. The catheter is then connected to the drug pump.
Your doctor fills the pump with pain medication using a needle. The pump sends the medication through the catheter to the spinal area where pain receptors are located. You return to your doctor for more medicine when the pump needs to be refilled.
The pump releases prescribed amounts of pain medication through the catheter directly to the fluid around the spinal cord, in an area called the intrathecal space.
Many people experience improvement in their pain symptoms1,3,4-6 and quality of life1,4,7-9 after receiving Medtronic targeted drug delivery. However, realistic expectations are essential to satisfaction with any pain treatment. Targeted drug delivery cannot eliminate the source of your pain or cure any underlying disease, but it may help you to better manage your pain.
Targeted drug delivery offers advantages over other therapies for chronic cancer pain:
Medtronic offers the SynchroMed® II drug delivery system for managing chronic cancer pain. The system includes:
Smith TJ, Staats PS, Deer T, et al. Randomized clinical trial of an implantable drug delivery system compared with comprehensive medical management for refractory cancer pain: impact on pain, drug-related toxicity, and survival. J Clin Oncol. 2002;20:4040-4049.
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Ellis DJ, Dissanayake S, McGuire D, et al. Continuous intrathecal infusion of ziconotide for treatment of chronic malignant and nonmalignant pain over 12 months: a prospective, open-label study. Neuromodulation. 2008;11:40-49.
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Roberts LJ, Finch PM, Goucke CR, Price LM. Outcome of intrathecal opioids in chronic non-cancer pain. Eur J Pain. 2001;5: 353-361.
Thimineur MA, Kravitz E, Vodapally MS. Intrathecal opioid treatment for chronic non-malignant pain: a 3-year prospective study. Pain. 2004;109:242-249.
Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.