For some people, chronic back pain is a daily consequence of a slip and fall or car accident. Physical therapy, exercises, and other alternative treatments may not be enough to manage pain, so many people are forced to take pain medication to get some relief. Targeted drug delivery could be a good option for many sufferers.
Targeted drug delivery is a pain medication delivery system that delivers the medicine directly to the fluid around the spinal cord. This system uses a drug pump attached to a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. Both are implanted under the skin and deliver pain medication directly to the spinal area rather than throughout the body like with oral medications.
Benefits and Side Effects of Targeted Drug Delivery
Targeted drug delivery should be considered only after other treatments, such as physical therapy and oral medications, have been tried. It could be useful for people who do not find these other treatments working or if they cannot tolerate the oral medications. The goals of targeted drug delivery are to:
- Improve the person’s quality of life.
- Reduce the person’s pain.
- Reduce the amount of medication used, as compared with oral medications, which could also reduce the side effects.
- Reduce reliance on oral medications.
The pain medication dose can be changed according to a person’s activity level and degree of pain. It is a reversible treatment that can be stopped, and the pump and catheter could be removed.
Like any treatment, targeted drug delivery has potential side effects. Some potential problems include:
- Surgical complications, such as infection, spinal fluid leaks, and headaches.
- Device complications that could require additional surgery to correct.
- Drug overdose, which could be life-threatening.
- Catheter problems, such as it moving, leaking, tearing, or becoming disconnected. If an inflammatory mass develops at the tip of the catheter, the person could suffer serious complications, including paralysis.
- Pump problems, such as it moving or stopping due to the battery running out or a failure in another part of the system.
If you are considering this treatment, it is important to discuss it with your doctor to learn about the potential benefits and side effects. However, for some people experiencing chronic back pain, this treatment could help them to manage their pain and improve their quality of life.
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