Text Size: a  |   a 

Study Reveals Sustained Efficacy of Intrathecal Baclofen in MS-Related Spasticity

September 22, 2016

Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) has long been an effective long-term therapy for patients with drug-resistant, multiple sclerosis (MS)-related muscle spasticity. Researchers all but confirmed it’s efficacy in a presentation at the 32nd annual ECTRIMS conference.
Yezen Sammaraiee, MD, University College London Medical School, London, United Kingdom, and associates assessed the long-term efficacy and safety of ITB treatment in a series of patients with severe MS-related spasticity. All patients were treated over a recent 20-year period at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.

Spasticity is among the most common MS symptoms, affecting more than 80% of patients during the course of the disease. It can also be extremely disabling, and even mild spasticity may restrict a patient’s physical function.

Of 96 patients included in the analysis, 17 were receiving disease-modifying therapy. All patients had been on oral agents for spasticity prior to the trial. After 1 year of ITB treatment, 73 (69%) had discontinued all oral anti-spasticity medications

Overall, 85% of patients maintained or increased passive range of movement after ITB implantation. Sustained efficacy was reported on the Ashworth, Penn and VAS/NRS mean scores up to 5 years. Sixty nine (65%) patients had a pump for 1-5 years, 28 (26%) for 6-10 years, and 9 (8%) more than 10 years. Of 35 pump replacements, 22 were elective replacements.

Most importantly, the overall incidence of complications was 0.06 per pump-year.

Basic Home Infusion specializes in managing intrathecal pumps in patients’ homes in order to help relieve sever spasticity and chronic pain.

What the intrathecal pump does is deliver a small dose of medication directly into the spinal column of patients to alleviate pain from spasticity. The pump, which is approximately around the same size as a hockey puck, is surgically implanted into the patient’s right or left lower abdomen. A catheter is then attached to the pump and tunneled around the side in order to reach the spinal column. The entire pump system is not physically visible by looking at the skin as it is completely implanted in the body.

Since the pump is programmed by a specific programming device, your managing physician will order the allotted amount of medication to be delivered through the pump as needed. This allows for the medication to run continuously through the catheter into the intrathecal space in the spine at a programmed rate.  

A successful trial must take place first in order to determine if the pump will be effective for each patient, but many individuals have experienced great relief from using this intrathecal pump system.