Intrathecal infusions

Implantable pain therapies: Intrathecal (IT) infusions

Treatments for persistent pain can involve many therapies including; medication, physiotherapy, psychological therapy and nerve blocks. In some patients these may not work or cause unpleasant side effects. For this small group of patients, drugs can be given by intrathecal infusion. A pump is placed under the skin usually around the stomach region. Tubes from the pump trickle out the drug into the space around the spinal cord. This may give the patient pain relief.

This review looked at whether IT infusions are helpful for persistent pain that is not due to cancer. The review did not find enough evidence to confirm that IT infusions are helpful for pain. There are also possible harms such as; side effects (e.g. nausea, dizziness, sleepiness, headache, addiction) and complications such as pump malfunction, misplacement and infection.

Intrathecal infusions: Full report PDF, 0.32MB