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Intrathecal Baclofen Trials

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Intrathecal Baclofen represents a
relatively new form of treatment for severe,
disabling spasticity. This treatment option uses a
special injectable form of a medication which has
long been available in oral form for treating spasticity. Before any decision regarding long term
use of intrathecal Baclofen in an individual, a
candidate’s response to the medication has to be
assessed to ensure that the drug is going to have the
desired effect. This assessment involves injecting
from one to three dosages of the medication via
lumbar puncture (‘spinal tap’) during a 1 to 3 day
inpatient stay. The trials are conducted by a
neurologist and/or anesthesiologist with rehab
nursing, physical therapist and (sometimes)
occupational therapist participating in monitoring
and assessment of functional effect. Ultimately, for
the successful candidate, treatment involves
implantation of a pump in a surgically-formed
‘pocket’ in the flank/abdomen, with a small piece of
tubing connecting this pump with the spinal-fluid
filled space around the base of the spinal column in
the back. Pump implants are performed by neurosurgeon
Lowell Rosman, MD at Holy Family Hospital in Methuen.
Northeast has been a setting for Intrathecal Baclofen
trials since 1993.