Drug Pumps Provide Relief for Some

Drug pumps may help to better control symptoms and reduce requirements for oral medications.

Drug pumps may help to better control symptoms and reduce requirements for oral medications, according the North American Neuromodulation Society and the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.

As part of Pain Awareness Month this September, the two societies are shedding light on alternative pain treatments. The drug pump works by diminishing or relieving pain and removing the side effects from orally taken medicine. It is designed to help patients improve the quality of their lives, according to a press release.

For chronic pain sufferers the “pain pump” is a drug-delivery system that directs extremely small and precise doses of medicine to the spinal fluid, which bathes the spinal cord. The system is comprised of a small pump that is surgically placed under the skin. The pump delivers medication through a catheter to the the spinal cord fluid. It is programmed to slowly release medication on a continuous basis. It can also be programmed to release varying amounts of medication at different times of the day, depending on the specific needs of that patient.

Because the medication is delivered directly to the spinal cord, symptoms can be controlled with much smaller doses than is needed with oral medication. These implantable devices provide pain relief with a miniscule fraction (1/300th) of the medication otherwise needed, if taken orally. The devices are also removable if the pain problem resolves.

Conditions that respond well to the pain pump are: failed back surgery syndrome, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Arachnoiditis, and chronic pancreatitis.

The pumps also provide relief to cancer patients. In one study, patients receiving the pump lived longer and had better pain control compared with standard medication management. The pump can also help lessen spasticity (muscle rigidity and spasms that make movement of the arms and legs difficult) caused by: Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, brain, or spinal cord injury.

The North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) seeks to be the premier organization representing neuromodulation. NANS promotes multidisciplinary collaboration among clinicians, scientists, engineers, and others to advance neuromodulation through education, research, innovation, and advocacy.

The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians’ mission is to promote the development and practice of safe, high quality, cost-effective Interventional Pain Management techniques for the diagnosis and treatment of pain and related disorders, and to ensure patient access to these interventions. Founded in 1998 by Chairman of the Board and CEO Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, ASIPP is a rapidly growing not-for-profit organization that supports the access to interventional techniques and the needs of physicians who practice accountable Interventional Pain Management across the country.