Doctor and patient discuss the patient's condition

Your Healthcare Team

Severe Spasticity

To find out if a baclofen pump is right for you, see a doctor who specializes in severe spasticity and manages the full range of treatments. Most physicians who manage spasticity are either neurologists or specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Choose a doctor in your area if possible, because if you are implanted, your baclofen pump will have to be refilled every few months.

The doctor who treats other aspects of your medical condition may or may not be a spasticity specialist. If not, ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist in spasticity. 

Your healthcare team for severe spasticity treatment with ITB Therapy may be a combination of the following:

Individual and Family Caregivers

  • Goal setting
  • Treatment decisions

Neurologist, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Specialist, or Primary Care Physician

  • Referrals for a spasticity evaluation
  • Goal setting
  • Treatment decisions
  • Post-surgery monitoring
  • Coordination of spasticity management with other aspects of care
  • May be involved in assessment and management of ITB Therapy

Neurosurgeon or Orthopaedic Surgeon

  • Surgically places the pump
  • May be involved in assessment and management of ITB Therapy

Physical, Occupational, and Speech Therapists

  • Functional assessment
  • Post-surgery rehabilitation

Nurses

  • Clinical management
  • Ongoing assessment

The Medtronic baclofen pump is part of the Synchromed® Infusion System, which delivers the drug called Lioresal® Intrathecal (baclofen injection) for ITB TherapySM, a treatment for severe spasticity. Please read the following important safety information about ITB Therapy.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR ITB THERAPY (Intrathecal Baclofen Therapy)

Please follow your doctor's instruction closely because a sudden stop of intrathecal baclofen therapy can result in serious baclofen withdrawal symptoms such as high fever, changed mental status, muscle stiffness, and in rare cases may result in loss of function of many vital organs and death. It is very important that your doctor be called right away if you experience any of the above symptoms.

It is important for you to keep your scheduled refill visits so you don't run out of medication (baclofen) and to know the early symptoms of baclofen withdrawal. Some patients are at more risk than others for baclofen withdrawal; speak with your doctor about this.

People who suffer from severe spasticity resulting from cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, brain injury, or spinal cord injury may be candidates for ITB Therapy. If you have spasticity due to spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis, you may be considered for ITB Therapy if oral baclofen has not controlled your spasticity or has resulted in serious side effects that you cannot accept. If you suffered a brain injury due to trauma you must wait until one year after the injury to be considered for ITB Therapy. A trial of ITB Therapy will help to show if ITB Therapy can help you. You should not receive ITB Therapy if you have an infection, are allergic to baclofen, or your body size is too small for the implantable pump.

The implanted pump and catheter (tube that delivers the drug from the pump to the fluid around the spinal cord) are placed under the skin during a surgery. Some complications that you may experience with the surgery include infection, meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and central nervous system), spinal fluid leak, paralysis, headache, swelling, bleeding, and bruising.

The most common and/or serious drug-related side effects of ITB Therapy include loose muscles, sleepiness, upset stomach, vomiting, headaches, and dizziness. Failure of the pump placed under your skin may cause symptoms due to overdose (receiving too much) or underdose (receiving too little) of intrathecal baclofen. The signs and symptoms of overdose include drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, respiratory depression (difficulty breathing), hypothermia (lower than normal body temperature), seizures, loss of consciousness, and coma. Once the infusion system (the pump and the catheter) is implanted, possible complications include unintended movement of the catheter or pump within the body or breakdown of the skin over the pump. The catheter could leak, tear, kink, or become disconnected from the pump, resulting in underdose or no baclofen infusion. Symptoms of underdose include an increase or return in spasticity, itching, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, and tingling sensation. These symptoms are often early signs of baclofen withdrawal. The pump could stop because the battery has run out or because of a problem with one or more of its inner parts. The pump will sound an alarm when the pump needs to be filled with baclofen, replaced, or if there is a problem with the pump. You or your caregiver should always inform any healthcare personnel that you have an implanted infusion system before any medical or diagnostic procedure such as MRI or diathermy.


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.