1. MYTH: A test dose of baclofen into the spinal fluid is a good test of how a person’s spasticity would be changed if a baclofen pump were inserted .

    FACT: The test dose is given to answer one question: does it relieve spasticity. The test dose often produces more relaxation than would be desired day after day.
  2. MYTH: A baclofen pump improves spasticity in the legs but not in the arms.

    FACT: The amount of spasticity reduction in the arms depends on where the catheter is positioned in the spinal fluid. When baclofen was first given, catheters were placed low (T10-12) and improved mainly the legs; now, catheters are positioned higher (e.g., T 1-2) and arm spasticity is improved much more .

The pump needs to be refilled every two to six
months, depending on the pump size, concentration and dose. Refills are done in the office (or occasionally by visiting crna nurses) using a syringe and needle and take approximately fifteen minutes to complete. At that time, baclofen doses are adjusted depending on the effects that are being seen. Doses typically increase slowly during the first year, then remain at that level for years thereafter. The battery in the pump lasts seven to eight years at which time the pump needs to be replaced. Baclofen has been used for more than fifteen years with no long-term complications being reported.
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