Intrathecal Baclofen Pump Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

  • Medical Author:
    Danette C. Taylor, DO, MS, FACN

    Dr. Taylor has a passion for treating patients as individuals. In practice since 1994, she has a wide range of experience in treating patients with many types of movement disorders and dementias. In addition to patient care, she is actively involved in the training of residents and medical students, and has been both primary and secondary investigator in numerous research studies through the years. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University's College of Osteopathic Medicine (Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology). She graduated with a BS degree from Alma College, and an MS (biomechanics) from Michigan State University. She received her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Her internship and residency were completed at Botsford General Hospital. Additionally, she completed a fellowship in movement disorders with Dr. Peter LeWitt. She has been named a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychiatrists. She is board-certified in neurology by the American Osteopathic Board of Neurology and Psychiatry. She has authored several articles and lectured extensively; she continues to write questions for two national medical boards. Dr. Taylor is a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Council (MSAC) of the Alzheimer's Association of Michigan, and is a reviewer for the journal Clinical Neuropharmacology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

The Effects of Multiple Sclerosis

Quick GuideMultiple Sclerosis Pictures Slideshow: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis Pictures Slideshow: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What are the potential risks and side effects of an intrathecal baclofen pump?

As with any surgery, there is a risk of infection around the area of the pump or tubing. If this is seen, the pump and tubing may need to be removed to allow the infection to clear.

  • The pump must be assessed and refilled regularly; abruptly stopping the baclofen can be dangerous.
  • Patients who have an intrathecal baclofen pump shouldn't drink alcohol, as this can increase the risk of side effects such as sleepiness.
  • Exposure to heat, such as from a hot tub or heating pad, can increase the flow of medication, which could lead to an overdose.
  • Certain types of MRI should be avoided, as this could cause problems with the pump.

How much does a pump cost? Does insurance cover a intrathecal baclofen pump?

Intrathecal baclofen pump therapy is approved by the FDA; as such, most insurance companies pay for this procedure and follow-up care. However, every plan is different, and the amount of coverage may vary.

REFERENCES:

Rizzo MA, Hadjimichael OC, Preiningerova J, Vollmer TL. Prevalence and treatment of spasticity reported by multiple sclerosis patients. Mult Scler. 2004 Oct;10(5):589-95.

Vender JR, Hughes M, Hughes BD, Hester S, Holsenback S, Rosson B. Intrathecal baclofen therapy and multiple sclerosis: outcomes and patient satisfaction. Neurosurg Focus. 2006 Aug 15;21(2):e6.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/27/2015

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