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Users of Intrathecal Pain Pumps- Pls. Read!!

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Old 10-31-2011, 04:58 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
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yakkwak HB User
Question Users of Intrathecal Pain Pumps- Pls. Read!!

Those of you who have intrathecal pain pumps:
There is very little literature on the specific side effects of different medications used in intrathecal (IT) pain pumps. It can be very expensive to switch pump medications. I have had the Medtronic pain pump for a couple of months now; it is currently filled with morphine. I have had excessive sweating that is not related to the temperature, and sometimes it is a cold (shiver) sweat. The Medtronic tech only told my doc that it is "theoretically possible" that the morphine causes the sweating, as opiods in general do tend to result in that side effect. I've had a ton of tests done by my internist and there is no other reason for the sweating. It is very embarrassing and is limiting my social life. As soon as I take a shower, wash my hair, and blow dry, I'm ready for another shower My doc is recommending that the pump be drained and that I try fentanyl. I am scheduled to discuss switching in two days. Anyone else have this problem and did switching meds help? Also, for those of you with the Medtronic pump, did you know that some of the pumps cannot use some medictions due to findings that resulted in previous bulletins/recall cautions????

It would be nice to take a poll to see what side effects are being experienced with what medications. Please write in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 11-01-2011, 09:26 AM   #2
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Re: Users of Intrathecal Pain Pumps- Pls. Read!!

Hi YakWak, Opiate side effects are opiate side effects, regardless of how they are delivered.Hot flashes, flushing, urinary retention, drowsuness, constpation can all be experienced by any opiate regardless of how it's delivered. Meds delivered IT are much more effective and only 1/100th to 1/300th can be used when switched from oral to IT, but it doesn't mean all side effects will be less or greater. It's trial and error just like when using orals. I'm disabled and have medicare, I started with morphine, then switched to dilaudid, tried marcaine and baclofen but the adjuncts had some side effects I couldn't tolerate, now their is a small amount of clonidine in the mix.

As far as refills, With Medicare and a home health agency doing the actual refills, I pay 35 bucks every 90 days to have my pump refilled by a home health nurse regardless of what med they use. Meds delivered by pump are billed through the insurance side, not the prescription side of medicare benefits. I do understand the meds are expensive, it's just a matter of what your portion of the medical cost your individual insurance leaves you stuck with. Cost of meds was a huge factor in my decision to switch to the pump. I've had a pump longer than medicare has had a part D plan so I was paying cash for every med, prior to part D or the pump. From the very get go, Medicare part B has covered my refills for the pump leaving me a simple co pay. Personally I found the side effects of morphine to be be more severe than the synthetics so switching to dilaudid or fent make sense as a way to reduce side effects.
Good luck, Dave

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