ITB Therapy is an established and widely accepted treatment option for severe spasticity. More than 60,000 baclofen pumps have been implanted worldwide since 1992. Studies show that ITB Therapy reduces spasticity and spasms. Patients must first try and fail on baclofen treatment by mouth (or experience side effects they cannot tolerate) before moving on to intrathecal Gablofen® (baclofen injection) treatment via implantable pump.
How it works
A surgeon places an intrathecal pump under the skin of your stomach. The medicine passes from the pump through a tiny tube into a space around your spine (called the intrathecal space). This intrathecal space is filled with fluid.
The sealed ITB pump has a chamber. It holds enough liquid baclofen to give up to 180 days of treatment for some patients. The pump is programmed to give medicine all the time, and your doctor can change the amount of baclofen you get. The goal is to control your spasticity in a way that meets your needs.
Why pump therapy is different
Baclofen taken by mouth must move through your digestive system before reaching a certain point in your central nervous system. An ITB pump sends the medicine right to the fluid around your spine. Because of this, it works at a lower dose than oral baclofen.
You need to take oral baclofen as often as 3 to 4 times a day. An ITB pump is programmed to give medicine all the time. So you don’t need to think about taking it.
ITB Therapy has proven useful for long-term control of severe spasticity for some patients:
Refilling and programming the pump
You will need to see your doctor and healthcare team for refills. Your doctor will make sure the pump is working the right way and change the dose to meet your needs. A trained healthcare worker will empty your pump and then refill it using a needle that goes through your skin and into the pump chamber. The pump battery can last 4 to 7 years before it needs to be replaced. The pump can be replaced or removed by your surgeon if needed.
ITB Therapy is a service mark of Medtronic, Inc.