Doctor and patient discuss the patient's condition

Cautions on Activities

Severe Spasticity

Cautions on Activities

When you have a baclofen pump, certain activities may damage the pump system or be dangerous for you. Always follow your doctor’s instructions on what to avoid. Below is a list of common instructions.

Bending, Twisting, Bouncing, Stretching

Avoid sudden, excessive, repeated movements like bending, twisting, bouncing, or stretching. These movements can damage your pump system, requiring repairs or replacement. They may also dislodge, kink, or block the catheter, stopping drug delivery and causing serious symptoms of baclofen withdrawal.

Alcohol and Other Medications

Intrathecal baclofen makes some people feel drowsy. This may add to the effect of alcohol or other depressants. You should be careful driving, operating dangerous machinery, or taking part in activities that may be dangerous if you are not alert.

Hot Tubs, Steam Rooms, Saunas, Tanning Beds

Avoid these, especially if they are hotter than 102˚F. As your body heats up, the flow rate of the pump will increase. You may receive too much medication, which may lead to serious injury or death.

Scuba Diving

Do not dive below 33 feet (10 meters). Diving lower can damage the pump, requiring replacement surgery. Before diving, discuss the effects of high pressure with your doctor. As pressure increases, pump flow decreases. You may receive too little or no medication, which may lead to serious injury or death.

Security Devices and Metal Detectors

Security devices and metal detectors won’t damage your pump, but the metal may set them off. Reduce your chances of setting off a metal detector by not lingering around or leaning on security screening devices in stores or the airport. If you do set off a metal detector, show your Medtronic Device Identification Card to security personnel.

Household Items

Most household appliances and equipment, if working properly and grounded properly, will not interfere with the pump system.

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.


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.