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Daily Living – Drug Pumps

Drug Pump for Cancer Pain

After the initial healing period, the drug pump will become a routine part of your day.

Refilling and Adjusting the Pump


Keeping all of your refill appointments will ensure your pump does not run out of medication.  If you miss a refill appointment, it may result in:

  • Loss of, or change in your therapy
  • Underdose (too little of the drug) that could lead to a return of pain symptoms, or possibly, symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Damage to the pump that could require replacement surgery

The frequency of your refill appointments will depend on the concentration and amount of medication you receive each day.  Refills generally happen every 6 weeks to 6 months.


Follow the treatment plan developed by your doctor, including participating in physical therapy as prescribed.


Work with your physician to find the dose of medication that is most comfortable for you.  Dosing can be customized to accommodate your needs at different times of the day, night, or week.

If you have myPTMTM Personal Therapy Manager, be sure to talk with your doctor about the number of doses programmed and the length of time between doses.  Your doctor may need to adjust the programming to find a combination that meets your needs.


Tell your doctor if you are not feeling well, if you are having problems with your therapy, or if you are not receiving adequate pain relief.

Review your goals regularly with your doctor.  Are you making progress toward achieving them?  Is your drug delivery therapy helping you reach your goals?  What adjustments need to be made?

Caution with Activities

Avoid activities that put stress on your SynchroMed II system, including sudden, excessive, or repetitive bending, twisting, bouncing, or stretching that can damage the pump or catheter or cause the catheter to become disconnected.

Understanding Pump Alarms

Be aware of the critical (two-tone) alarm and the non-critical (single-tone) alarm on your SynchroMed II pump. Alarms may sound when the pump needs to be refilled, replaced, or is experiencing a problem. Contact your doctor if you hear an alarm. 

Please note that the volume of the alarm on your computer may be louder than the volume of the alarm heard from the implanted pump.

The alarm signals a critical or noncritical event in your infusion system. A critical alarm is a dual-tone alarm. A critical alarm means that therapy has stopped or will stop soon. A noncritical alarm is a single-tone alarm. A noncritical alarm requires a doctor or nurse's attention because it may mean therapy will stop at some point in the future.

After your implant, ask your doctor to temporarily program your pump to sound the alarm in his or her office so you will recognize the sound if an alarm goes off in the future.

A non-critical alarm will sound when you are nearing replacement. 

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.