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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Long-term intrathecal infusion of drug combinations for chronic back and leg pain.

Continuous intrathecal infusion of analgesic drugs by implantable pumps is recognized as an established treatment option for patients with chronic pain resistant to oral or parenteral medication. Polyanalgesia, the simultaneous use of more than one intrathecal analgesic drug, is practiced relatively often, but there are only a few published clinical studies on intrathecal polyanalgesia for chronic nonmalignant pain. This pilot study represents a long-term evaluation of a treatment regimen consisting of intrathecal morphine admixed with bupivacaine, clonidine, or midazolam in patients with chronic nonmalignant back and leg pain due to degenerative lumbar spinal disease. Twenty-six adult patients have been treated by intrathecal programmable pump-controlled infusion of analgesic drugs and followed for up to 3.5 years (27 +/- 11 months). Combination of morphine with a second drug was used in 10 cases, morphine with 2 additional drugs in 12 cases, and morphine with 3 additional drugs in 4 cases. Mean daily doses at 24 months after pump implantation were 6.2 +/- 2.8 mg for morphine, 2.5 +/- 1.5 mg for bupivacaine, 0.06 +/- 0.03 mg for clonidine, and 0.8 +/- 0.4 mg for midazolam. Nineteen patients reported excellent or good long-term treatment results, 6 patients had sufficient results, and only 1 patient complained of poor therapeutic efficacy. No long-term clinical side effects of intrathecal polyanalgesia were noted. Mean morphine dose had to be increased from 1.2 mg at baseline to 5.1 mg at 24 months due to tolerance development and disease progression. This experience suggests that intrathecal polyanalgesia employing morphine combined with additional nonopioid drugs can have a favorable analgesic efficacy in patients with complex chronic pain of spinal origin, and lacks major drug-related complications.[1]


  1. Long-term intrathecal infusion of drug combinations for chronic back and leg pain. Rainov, N.G., Heidecke, V., Burkert, W. Journal of pain and symptom management. (2001) [Pubmed]
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