pain pumps

Intrathecal Opioid Pumps: Few Pros, Many Cons

Christina Lasich, MD Health Pro August 08, 2011
  • An intrathecal opioid pump is really not something that you would wish for your BFF or your worst enemy. That special someone would have to be in a pretty dire situation in order to receive a pump. Once the pump is in place, that person is still probably in miserable pain just at a slightly lesser de...

28 Comments
  • mnaussie
    Aug. 19, 2014

    Your article is utterly ridiculous.  I am a T7 para and have been for 12 years now.  The pump was originally installed for Baclofen to reduce my severe spasms.  It did a wonderful job for 5 years.  I moved to AZ in 2010 and was told that they could add morphine to the pump as well.  I tried Oxy but it made me sick to my stomach. ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Your article is utterly ridiculous.  I am a T7 para and have been for 12 years now.  The pump was originally installed for Baclofen to reduce my severe spasms.  It did a wonderful job for 5 years.  I moved to AZ in 2010 and was told that they could add morphine to the pump as well.  I tried Oxy but it made me sick to my stomach.  The patches were horrible and expensive.  Actually all pain oral meds are expensive and some not covered by medicare/insurance.  In my view, to live happily with a disability you must have a good quality of life.  The pump was a Godsend and I have NEVER regretted it.  The pump along with a surgery to move my cath location to my belly button has given me a life worth living without pain or spasms.  I no longer take anything orally.  It is sad that people like you, able bodied and well educated (I assume) would write such a scathing article about something you do not use or have need of.  For anyone that would like further information please email me at terilynnpeters@hotmail.com.  This article really makes me mad.

  • Anonymous
    Sharon
    Jun. 29, 2013

    I am a a 43 year old single mother of two sons. In 2008, due to a fall at work my ankle was fractured and i was diagnosed with CRPS. The spinal stimulator, medications and now a malfunctioned Medtronic painpump has me left in severe pain. I kept informing my pain management doctor somethings was wrong. I was taken 5-10 times to the hospital with slurred speach,head...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I am a a 43 year old single mother of two sons. In 2008, due to a fall at work my ankle was fractured and i was diagnosed with CRPS. The spinal stimulator, medications and now a malfunctioned Medtronic painpump has me left in severe pain. I kept informing my pain management doctor somethings was wrong. I was taken 5-10 times to the hospital with slurred speach,head felt like a big bowling ball, throat swollen shut, no neurological function in my legs or arms, vomitting,diarrhea and the hospitals refused to touch me when they heard painpump. Was advised to find. The doctor who installed it and have him fix it. Ending result is i constantly blacked out and left with no other option but to have it surgically removed. I refused after almost dying in front of my sons and giing through the hospitals willing to let me die, i prayed and asked God to guide me in what to do, i am in worse pain recovering from the surgery after the removal. My warning to anyone who has one or is planning on getting one is, please do extensive research before what. I experienced happens to you. I was never informed of this danger nor advised of the dangers of suffentanal. Fentanyl is also a very dangerous drug that was used on

    me that caused excessive weight gain,  fluid around my heart, 

    • Christina Lasich, MD
      Health Pro
      Jun. 29, 2013

      I am sorry to hear that this temporary life on earth is riddle with pain for you. Remember, God is faithful to his promises.

       

      And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose~ Rom 8:28

       

      You might find it helpful to listen to these two messages from Pastor Rick Warren:

       ...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I am sorry to hear that this temporary life on earth is riddle with pain for you. Remember, God is faithful to his promises.

       

      And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to his purpose~ Rom 8:28

       

      You might find it helpful to listen to these two messages from Pastor Rick Warren:

       

      www.purposedriven.com/day14

      www.purposedriven.com/day25

       

      Keep looking up because the God of Angel Armies is watching over you.

       

      Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

  • Anonymous
    susyQ
    Jan. 01, 2013

    You are spot on.  Keep up the good work.  If your writing does nothing else than cause people to stop, think, and do some research before they think that a pump is a cure all, then you have achieved something.  Are there people that have had success with their pump?  Sure.  My loved one was in that boat for some time.  And yet.......

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    You are spot on.  Keep up the good work.  If your writing does nothing else than cause people to stop, think, and do some research before they think that a pump is a cure all, then you have achieved something.  Are there people that have had success with their pump?  Sure.  My loved one was in that boat for some time.  And yet....  just a few weeks ago a malfunction happened that could have easily ended his life, had he had a more potent med in his pump, like fentanyl, like prialt, drugs that he USED to have.  Had those meds been in his pump when it malfunctioned, he would be dead right now.   Due to a malfunction.  So now, after 10 years of a decent run  he is left dealing with the notion of either going back on opiates (a horrid proposition), or spinning the barrel and trying his luck with Russian Roulette again by getting yet another new pump (I think this is #3)  Don't discount what this doc is saying.  Instead, do some research.  Start by googling FDA and Medtronic.  Nuff said. 

    • Christina Lasich, MD
      Health Pro
      Jan. 05, 2013

      Thanks for you spot on comment. Research and informed decisions are the foundation to good medicine.

       

      Nuff said,

       

      Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

    • Anonymous
      troy
      Mar. 19, 2013

      i am going through the same problems with my pump. all due to using non approved drugs in it. never one problem, until he started compounding drugs.

    • Anonymous
      troy
      Mar. 19, 2013

      i am going through the same problems with my pump. all due to using non approved drugs in it. never one problem, until he started compounding drugs.

  • Have a pump,
    Aug. 23, 2012

    You must be a very sad person to write so many negative things about something you know so little about. Instead, why don't you go to the "pumpsters" blog on yahoo and read comments from the hundreds of us that have pumps and feel that it gave us our life back. Get your information from "the horse's mouth". Have you or your sources had to think about...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    You must be a very sad person to write so many negative things about something you know so little about. Instead, why don't you go to the "pumpsters" blog on yahoo and read comments from the hundreds of us that have pumps and feel that it gave us our life back. Get your information from "the horse's mouth". Have you or your sources had to think about killing yourself because of decades of pain? The pump has saved hundreds if not thousands of lives. Do your research the correct way and ask people that have them. What a novel idea.

    • Networker
      Sep. 02, 2012

      Oh Thank You! I am scheduled to have a pain pump implant on September 11th-13th at Vanderbilt in Nashville. I beat pancreatic cancer but during the Whipple in April 2004, they had to scrape the tumor off of a vary large nerve. My oncologist has made me a case study since I metabolize pain med so quickly. It took 1200MG of MS-Contin DAILY to get me down to a...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Oh Thank You! I am scheduled to have a pain pump implant on September 11th-13th at Vanderbilt in Nashville. I beat pancreatic cancer but during the Whipple in April 2004, they had to scrape the tumor off of a vary large nerve. My oncologist has made me a case study since I metabolize pain med so quickly. It took 1200MG of MS-Contin DAILY to get me down to a Level 3 pain.

       

      I am looking at this as a life saver. I still work full time as an IT consultant and need to be rid of the "fog". For a while I had the MS-contin, 100MCH Fentanyl patch and (6) 10/325 Hydrocodone for break through pain. When I saw the MD post that said "Few Pro's, Many Con's" it broke my heart. How could a doctor do that?

       

      You have had a good experience? Seems like everyone has had some issue and I live 300 miles from my oncologist and Pain Management Doc. If I have a bad problem like a kinked tube or a broken catheter I am going to be in a world of hurt!

       

      I am looking forward to your reply, or a reply from anyone in the forum with input.

       

      Thanks!

    • Anonymous
      Ricster
      Sep. 03, 2012

      You will a support group like "pumpsters to answers all your questions and help with your fears. Just google "pumpsters". It will take you to yahoo where they have a chat room. I asked about 100 questions before I went ahead with my pump. You join the group with just name and email and after that you never use your full name, just your first name and the state...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      You will a support group like "pumpsters to answers all your questions and help with your fears. Just google "pumpsters". It will take you to yahoo where they have a chat room. I asked about 100 questions before I went ahead with my pump. You join the group with just name and email and after that you never use your full name, just your first name and the state you live in when you post. They have over 1,000 members that are all overr the US, even some in England.  That have sorted all the post so you could even just look up what others have written and I am positive that it has been covered before. If not then just ask. Most have pumps, some are getting them, etc. Some people have had dozens of surgeries for years. The kindest group of people you will ever never from. They all are in CONSTANT chronic pain and everyone understands. Their is a moderator so people keep it clean and you can't use Drs. names or hospitals names, etc.  You will not be sorry. Do it today. Just say that you are just joining and tell your story and they will welcome you like family.  I hope you do it.

  • Anonymous
    forever in pain
    Jun. 21, 2012

    I wonder if you have ever been in severe pain and had to take so much pain meds that you can barely function and still only get about 50% pain relief?  I had afailed discectomy and a year later had a fusuin on L4-L5. The Dr put a battery pack in to stimulate faster healing, when I arrived at the ER with life threatening symptoms they found MRSA around...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I wonder if you have ever been in severe pain and had to take so much pain meds that you can barely function and still only get about 50% pain relief?  I had afailed discectomy and a year later had a fusuin on L4-L5. The Dr put a battery pack in to stimulate faster healing, when I arrived at the ER with life threatening symptoms they found MRSA around the battery pack and in my spine.  I lost the fusion and almost lost my life.  I was on IV antibiotics for months.  It scares me to have more surgeries but life is so bad now that I am willing to risk anything.  I am only 54 and my husband and I thought we would always travel when our daughter was grown, but we do nothing because I can't sit for long and spend most of my time in bed.  There are risk with every surgery and I believe there are alot of pros to the pain pump.  I hope to have one installed soon and will report my experience when I do.  I hope that more people who have had a good experience with the pump would post.  And I wish you would post the pros so people can make a more informed choice!

    • Anonymous
      fierygem
      Aug. 21, 2012

      I have a Synchromed II that was implanted in 2008 and it has saved my life. I have had no complicatations and it is the only thing that has worked in the past

      30 years of living in agony. I used other methods such as methadone and the Duragesic Patch which left me nodding and brain dead . I have had wonderful doctors and one that was not too good...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I have a Synchromed II that was implanted in 2008 and it has saved my life. I have had no complicatations and it is the only thing that has worked in the past

      30 years of living in agony. I used other methods such as methadone and the Duragesic Patch which left me nodding and brain dead . I have had wonderful doctors and one that was not too good who I left within 6 months. Did you interview a sample of people who have the pump before you wrote such a negative artcle? Ten years ago is a long time ago to judge a therapy that has changed and been updated. My pump given me my life back and I thank God that I finally found something that works.

    • Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Aug. 24, 2012

      I too love my pain pump!!  I have had my pain pump over two years and have never had any problems with it.

      Before my implant both my feet and legs pounded and throbbed with  pain 24/7!! No Doctor wanted to treat my pain!! I was in agony. I sould not sleep or eat because of the brutal pain.

      Then I found the wonderful Doctor who implamted my pain pump...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I too love my pain pump!!  I have had my pain pump over two years and have never had any problems with it.

      Before my implant both my feet and legs pounded and throbbed with  pain 24/7!! No Doctor wanted to treat my pain!! I was in agony. I sould not sleep or eat because of the brutal pain.

      Then I found the wonderful Doctor who implamted my pain pump for me. Yes I was told about all the problems a pain pump might have but I still wanted it. To me the benefits far outweighed  any problems I might have.

      I now have my life back. I only take oral pain meds when I have a flare up.

      The only way anyone will take my pain pump away from me is out of my dead body!!

    • Jerome001
      Sep. 04, 2012

      Thanks for sharing your experience with the pain pump. I am 2 years older than you and in a similar condition. I've gone through the gamut for about 14 years with my back pain and I've had multiple epidurals at various sites, RFL, RFI, cyro, heat, PT, L5/S1 fusion in December 2005 failed and I had another fusion there via an ALIF. I have a spinal cord stimulator...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Thanks for sharing your experience with the pain pump. I am 2 years older than you and in a similar condition. I've gone through the gamut for about 14 years with my back pain and I've had multiple epidurals at various sites, RFL, RFI, cyro, heat, PT, L5/S1 fusion in December 2005 failed and I had another fusion there via an ALIF. I have a spinal cord stimulator for 6 or 7 months including 1 surgery to to replace the battery/generator because it had moved and was on my spine causing even worse pain AND it has moved again and I'm waiting for my surgery date to have the battery moved again! I have seen so many docs, had so many procedures, various medicine cocktails, Kettamine infusions, etc, ad nauseum, and I have had no improvement - if anything, I hurt worse more than ever. My profession and my position as an executive in my company, requires me to be "on" all the time with my employees and clients and I have missed so many meetings, so much work, that I finally threw in the towel and went back on disability a couple of weeks ago. The pain pump is my last resort. If the pump does not work, I'm stuck with taking heavy doses of prescribed narcotics for the rest of my life. I too walk around in something of a stupor most of the time, I forget a lot of what I need to know, I cannot do anything physical whatsoever - my only hobby has been taking care of my beautiful yard - I used to work out every day and was in great shape. Now, I'm probably 20 or more pounds over weight; I cannot enjoy socializing or traveling as I'm in too much pain or in a stupor. My wife and I love to travel and enjoy being among other people but I am an anchor that keeps my wife to a very limited social life and she is miserable too. I can only hope that the pain pump gives me some relief to enable me to act like I am at least human and engaged most of the time. I expect to have the pain pump trial sometime this month and I look forward to the trial. The "cons" in the article about the pump are new to me as I have not heard most of those potential issues. My experience with all medical procedures is that each one has some risk - some more, some less. Heck, life itself is a risk - I fell down a flight of stairs a few days ago and I could have broken my neck or been seriously injured and, based on the logic of the article above, I suppose I should never use the stairs again, right? So, my choice is to tolerate my brutal pain for the rest of my life or try the pain pump and deal with its "cons?" I elect to give the pain pump a shot and, if it doesn't work out, I will have it removed.

       

      Thanks to all of you that posted your experience with the pump as your sharing is very helpful for me!

  • Deborah
    Dec. 03, 2011

    This post criticizing intrathecal pain control pumps is way off base as to the efficacy and dangers of these internal pain control marvels. I have had an internal Medtronic pump for over five years with only one complication. This pump has helped control my pain more than any other method. Within six months of its insertion, I realized I was no longer...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    This post criticizing intrathecal pain control pumps is way off base as to the efficacy and dangers of these internal pain control marvels. I have had an internal Medtronic pump for over five years with only one complication. This pump has helped control my pain more than any other method. Within six months of its insertion, I realized I was no longer really using the cane I had been using for the previous four years. Previously, I had been prescribed fentanyl patches for extended-release pain control, but I found the patch delivery system to be choppy and irregular. I also needed far more breakthrough medication while on the patch.

     

    The pump malfunctioned this past October, right around the five-year mark, which is close to when the battery life is set to expire. My battery did not die, rather the catheter broke at the entrance to the intrathecal space of my spine. I am not sure how or why it broke, but I was in a car collision, and that trauma might have caused the damage. I had some difficulty post-operatively, with a fever and lung alectasis as well as a spinal headache. I am still recovering to an extent, but the pump has brought my pain under control so well that I am a new person, able to handle life again. In fact, I am contemplating attempting a return to the workforce, and my pain was so severe and constant that I was approved for SSDI with my first application.

     

    I dislike people denigrating a therapy when it obviously works for any number of people, and is not used only by those who suffer from a malignancy. Other types of pain can be treated with the pump, and this device can be incredibly effective in the war against pain.

    • Anonymous
      Mack
      Mar. 09, 2012

      I just had my first pump replace after 7 years in January.  I am fused from L4-S1 and C4-C7. I am scheduled to have another spinal fusion in 6 weeks.  I have chronic irretraceable pain in my back, neck and shoulders, and have had for more than 25 years. I have been on every pain medication and therapy known to modern US pain clinics to include...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I just had my first pump replace after 7 years in January.  I am fused from L4-S1 and C4-C7. I am scheduled to have another spinal fusion in 6 weeks.  I have chronic irretraceable pain in my back, neck and shoulders, and have had for more than 25 years. I have been on every pain medication and therapy known to modern US pain clinics to include Prialt, made from a deadly sea snail. I have had nerve oblations from alcohol to lazars, and none of my previous treatments have been as effective, and had the least amount of side effects as the pump has.  It all depends on who implants it and manages the medications as to the complications that arise out of it use, and once you have it you can't pretend you aren't still limited physically by what you can and cannot do. If you're bad enough to need one in the first place you shouldn't return to normal activities that most people take for granted. Yes you have to make life style changes, and the pump relieves at least 50% of my pain, but the alternative is un-thinkable pain and side effects from oral medications that are so bad you don't want to live, or your so mentally impaired that you just don't care. And that's not living!  I suggest going to a pain clinic at a major teaching hospital that is on the cutting edge as I have at the University of Virginia, or some place like Duke.  You can also contact Medtronics to find the best available.  Do your homework and check their surgical stats before you let them cut.

  • tcavner1
    Oct. 13, 2011

    Oh, Lordy! I just read your post on having a pain pump. I have one and had nothing but trouble with it. The first being no pain relief. Now I read about all the rest of the problems and all I can say is I can't get this thing turned off and get back on orals fast enough! Then I want it out. But what happens if my doctor refuses to accomodate me? Do I have any...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Oh, Lordy! I just read your post on having a pain pump. I have one and had nothing but trouble with it. The first being no pain relief. Now I read about all the rest of the problems and all I can say is I can't get this thing turned off and get back on orals fast enough! Then I want it out. But what happens if my doctor refuses to accomodate me? Do I have any options?

  • Anonymous
    cag
    Aug. 14, 2011

    I have had  a pain pump since 1989 and have it changed sveral times because of the battery needed replacement.  It has been a life saver for me and wouldn"t be functioning as good as I am without it.  I continue to work 40 hrs a week as a nurse practitioner!  It is a life long committment and not appropriate for most people but a useful...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I have had  a pain pump since 1989 and have it changed sveral times because of the battery needed replacement.  It has been a life saver for me and wouldn"t be functioning as good as I am without it.  I continue to work 40 hrs a week as a nurse practitioner!  It is a life long committment and not appropriate for most people but a useful tool for some.

    • Christina Lasich, MD
      Health Pro
      Aug. 15, 2011

      Well said and thank you for your input.

       

      Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

  • bobengel
    Aug. 12, 2011

    I believe your very negative comments about the intrathecal pump could be applied to many surgical procedures.  I've used the pump for over four years and had some early catheter slippage problems resulting from excessive physical exertion but, otherwise, it continues to work fine.

     

    Other surgeries such as a knee replacement (followed by incisional...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I believe your very negative comments about the intrathecal pump could be applied to many surgical procedures.  I've used the pump for over four years and had some early catheter slippage problems resulting from excessive physical exertion but, otherwise, it continues to work fine.

     

    Other surgeries such as a knee replacement (followed by incisional infection) and hip replacement (three subsequent hip displacements) caused much more trauma and acute pain for me than the pump system problems. 

     

    I can think of many surguries and medical treatments that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy and certainly not for myself. 

     

    The tone of your article indicates to me that you personally or some of your patients must have experienced problems with the pump system.  The vitriol used to describe the dire consequences of the implant will surely discourage someone who is contemplating this surgery if that's the intent.  I believe this is most unfortunate.

  • Mare
    Aug. 11, 2011

    True, this is a complete gloom and doom article. It sounds exactly like the lecture I heard at a Pain Clinic I attended in Palo Alto, Ca. I had to correct the Dr. (much to his dismay!) several times during his lecture. One of his comments was that only people on their death bed's received the pain pump. At the time, my husband's had just had his removed, and...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    True, this is a complete gloom and doom article. It sounds exactly like the lecture I heard at a Pain Clinic I attended in Palo Alto, Ca. I had to correct the Dr. (much to his dismay!) several times during his lecture. One of his comments was that only people on their death bed's received the pain pump. At the time, my husband's had just had his removed, and my husband was NOT on his death bed! 

     

    However, he did experience life threatening infections twice before his pump was removed. The Dr.'s in our city literally wouldn't touch him, and we live in an area where you'd think that wouldn't be a problem! They transported him by ambulance to San Francisco (45 mintues away) for treatment both times. Each time he was so deathly sick, it was terrifying! Due to the infections, his pain levels were out of control.

     

    Withdrawals were brutal.It was actually several months before my husband recovered. 

     

    I have C.R.P.S. and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and my Pain Mgmt. Dr. recommended one of these for me just after my husband's was removed, and I laughed! No way in he** are you putting one of those things in me!!

     

    Also, it's true, the pumps do not remove all of your pain. My husband still had to take a LOT of oral med's to make his pain levels tolerable.

     

    5 years later he is still in intractable pain, and now needs bi-weekly testerone shots, thanks to the pump. Our concern is these shots will cause a recurrence of his cancer, but he has no choice. The alternative is brittle bones and other issues.

     

    Yes, the article is very negative, but a good perentage of what was shared is very true. A pain pump is something that should be carefully considered before it's implanted. Funny, we weren't advised about the pump at all before my husband was given his. They just told us they were implanting it, after he'd been hospitalized for a month due to his pain. He'd been given an epidural and kept in that state for a week before they decided to do the pain pump. 

     

    Also, we weren't given any advice about much less help with his withdrawals.But then that's Kaiser Permanente for you!

    • Christina Lasich, MD
      Health Pro
      Aug. 11, 2011

      Wow, thank you for sharing. Your husband's experience with the pump is exactly what I hope does not happen to other people. If my article can prevent just this very "doom and gloom" thing from occurring to someone else, then so be it. I will take the heat anyday for telling the truth.

       

      Shame on his doctors for not telling him the whole truth. And good...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Wow, thank you for sharing. Your husband's experience with the pump is exactly what I hope does not happen to other people. If my article can prevent just this very "doom and gloom" thing from occurring to someone else, then so be it. I will take the heat anyday for telling the truth.

       

      Shame on his doctors for not telling him the whole truth. And good for you for standing up for you and saying "no way in h**".

       

      Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

    • PBurchins
      Aug. 11, 2011
      First, I am sorry for both you and your husband. I hope you both can find relief. I can empathize with your husband regarding his infection and pain. I had an infection after my first back surgery and it was indeed the worst pain I have ever been in my life. I did not blame the rods and crews. Nor was the pump responsible for your husbands infection The pump...
      RHMLucky777
      Read More
      First, I am sorry for both you and your husband. I hope you both can find relief. I can empathize with your husband regarding his infection and pain. I had an infection after my first back surgery and it was indeed the worst pain I have ever been in my life. I did not blame the rods and crews. Nor was the pump responsible for your husbands infection The pump is just a mechanical delivery system. They don't come in infection and non-infection versions. Just like the pump is not responsible for low t. Whatever medicine he is taking for years plus his age is causing the Low Some doctors should not be allowed to do the surgery. When I had mine implanted I had to lie flat in the hospital bed for 3 days to allow for proper healing at the spinal canal. Other doctors do it on an outpatient basis, go figure. I am shocked they did not do a trial study, tell you the risk or make you sign documents. Maybe you should have gotten an attorney to sue for malpractice. Best of luck!
  • PBurchins
    Aug. 11, 2011
    Shame on you for providing such a gloom and doom article to the people who read this website looking for information. I agree with the other commentator the article is misleading since you presented nothing to one would state as "Pro" Is the pump perfect ? no. Are their complications ? Like all medical procedures, Yes there are. What you have not provided is...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    Shame on you for providing such a gloom and doom article to the people who read this website looking for information. I agree with the other commentator the article is misleading since you presented nothing to one would state as "Pro" Is the pump perfect ? no. Are their complications ? Like all medical procedures, Yes there are. What you have not provided is what makes you an expert on an Intrathecal Pump? Have you ever assisted in the surgery to implant? Have you cared for patients who have them? Have you even replaced the medication in them? I am afraid that you have taken an online continuing education course given by Harvard and turn that into your opinion. Please provide us the name of the article that was presented at Harvard so we can read it for ourselves instead of having all the Pros edited by you. I have found that Physiatrist don't like this device because it cuts them out because they are not qualified. I also noticed you provided no solutions to people in pain. Shame on you for writing this and shame on Health Central for publishing it. By the way, I have the intrathecal pump in me and in November it will be 2 years. I have had none of the issues you have mentioned. I am not "pushing up dasies" either. My biggest problem with the pump is weight gain. That is a side effect of the drug not the pump.
    • Christina Lasich, MD
      Health Pro
      Aug. 11, 2011

      I am so glad that you are having such a positive experience with your pump. Your experience is a testament to the flaws of evidence-based medicine. The medical evidence, including the sited article, does not account for individual differences.

       

      (As stated, the article sited did demonstrate a benefit, "The study showed that when patients with extrememly...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I am so glad that you are having such a positive experience with your pump. Your experience is a testament to the flaws of evidence-based medicine. The medical evidence, including the sited article, does not account for individual differences.

       

      (As stated, the article sited did demonstrate a benefit, "The study showed that when patients with extrememly severe pain problems are selected as pump candidates, they will likely improve with therapy, but their overall severity of pain and symptoms remains high."Intrathecal Opioid Treatment for Chronic Non-Malignant Pain: A three year prospective study; Thimineur", et al, Pain 2004). This article was also referenced in the mentioned lecture by Professor Gilbert Fanciullo, MD at Cambridge, Mass on June 21, 2011. Dr. Fanciullo is the Director of the Pain Medicine Division at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

       

      This lecture at Cambridge about the intrathecal opioid pumps was sobering indeed. As I sat in the lecture hall and listened to what Professor Fanciullo was saying, I remember my own experiences as a young doctor with the intrathecal pumps. What I heard echoed my own opinions formulated from my own experiences at UC Davis Medical Center over a decade ago. Yes, I have assisted in the OR with pump placement. Yes, I have filled pumps in the PM&R clinic. Yes, I have received calls from the ER about someone who just arrived at 3am with a pump alarm going off in the abdominal cavity.

       

      Fast forward to present time, 10+ years later, in the lecture hall at Cambridge, I realized that the truth about pumps continues to be sobering and somber, but it needs to be told.

       

      No one should be shamed for telling the truth. Shame should go to the doctors who are so drunk from the Medtronic kool-aid that they do not fully inform the patients about the reality of intrathecal pumps. (please see the comment from "Mare" below).

       

      Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

  • Anonymous
    Really?
    Aug. 08, 2011

    The title of the article is factually incorrect, as this physician believes there are, in fact, only "cons" to intrathecal pumps. Even in patients with terminal cancer, apparently, the benefit is apparently insufficient to warrant an attempt on her part to quantify its degree (in terms of pain score reduction) or length (in terms of number of weeks of time...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    The title of the article is factually incorrect, as this physician believes there are, in fact, only "cons" to intrathecal pumps. Even in patients with terminal cancer, apparently, the benefit is apparently insufficient to warrant an attempt on her part to quantify its degree (in terms of pain score reduction) or length (in terms of number of weeks of time until the patient's inevitable death.) I only hope no patient or family member of a patient in need of an intrathecal pump comes looking for information, since there is none to be found here. There is also a typographical error, as 1 in 2000 is hardly 4%. That would be 1 in 20.

    • Christina Lasich, MD
      Health Pro
      Aug. 08, 2011

      Sorry for the typographical error, the risk of death is 4%. Intrathecal pumps do prolong life in those with terminal cancer and can be worthwhile as I stated. In cases of non-malignant pain, the potential benefits rarely, if at all, outweigh any potential benefits. Someone who is considering the pump should read this article and weigh these facts very carefully....

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Sorry for the typographical error, the risk of death is 4%. Intrathecal pumps do prolong life in those with terminal cancer and can be worthwhile as I stated. In cases of non-malignant pain, the potential benefits rarely, if at all, outweigh any potential benefits. Someone who is considering the pump should read this article and weigh these facts very carefully.

       

      All of this information is factually correct, is supported by the sited medical evidence, and was presented at a recent pain medicine conference at Harvard.

       

      Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

    • Anonymous
      Susan Clark
      Jan. 04, 2014

      I am a cancer patient who has been on every oral pain medication known to man and have never gotten any long term relief from anything and in fact . because I keep running out of oral pain med and cannot get anymore because most pharmacies don't carry most of the narcotics I need. I have been dealing with this low back pain for over a year now from metastatic...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I am a cancer patient who has been on every oral pain medication known to man and have never gotten any long term relief from anything and in fact . because I keep running out of oral pain med and cannot get anymore because most pharmacies don't carry most of the narcotics I need. I have been dealing with this low back pain for over a year now from metastatic Cancer and have after some long and deep thought come to the conclusion that the pain pump is my only option. Now I am deeply disappointed that you have spent so much time pointing out all the negatives. Thanks for confusing me even more . Yours is the first commentary that I have read that is so negative and being it is almost 3 years old I am going to go ahead with the pump. Somehow I think someone from the Medtronic company must have made you very angry because that is the only reason why you would write something so caustic, Despite your aricle I am planning to continue with my plans to get this pump