Baclofen is a medication that treats stiff muscles and spasms, a condition called spasticity, that can happen to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other nerve diseases. Normally, your muscles get electrical signals from your nerves that tell them when to tense and relax. Spasticity happens when these signals become uneven, usually because the nerves have been damaged. This makes muscles tense up or move when you don’t want them to. Baclofen works by restoring the normal signals. It can help you move your muscles more normally.
A baclofen pump delivers small doses of the drug directly to the spinal cord so that it doesn’t circulate through the body first. This keeps side effects to a minimum and also means you don’t have to use as much of the drug to achieve the desired results.
The pump stores and releases the right amount of medicine through the catheter. A tiny motor moves the medication from the pump through the catheter. The device -- a round metal disc, about 1 inch thick and 3 inches around -- is placed under the skin of your belly near your waistline. The pump needs to be refilled every two to six months, depending on the pump size, concentration and dose. Every five to seven years the pump will be replaced when the battery dies.
The procedure for insertion of an intrathecal baclofen pump lasts 1-1.5 hours. You will be kept at bedrest for 2-3 days after pump insertion. During that time, the baclofen dose is increased every day as needed. Usually by the fourth or fifth day, spasticity is distinctly better and you will be discharged 4-6 days postoperatively.