November 25, 2015
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Baclofen Pump Therapy (cont.)

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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.


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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