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Korean J Pain. 2013 Oct;26(4):336-46. doi: 10.3344/kjp.2013.26.4.336. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Role of Catheter's Position for Final Results in Intrathecal Drug Delivery. Analysis Based on CSF Dynamics and Specific Drugs Profiles.

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Anesthesia, Critical Care, and Multidisciplinary Pain Management Department, Valencia University General Hospital, Valencia, Spain.


Intrathecal drug delivery is an effective and safe option for the treatment of chronic pathology refractory to conventional pain therapies. Typical intrathecal administered drugs are opioids, baclofen, local anesthetics and adjuvant medications. Although knowledge about mechanisms of action of intrathecal drugs are every day more clear many doubt remain respect the correct location of intrathecal catheter in order to achieve the best therapeutic result. We analyze the factors that can affect drug distribution within the cerebrospinal fluid. Three categories of variables were identified: drug features, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics and patients features. First category includes physicochemical properties and pharmacological features of intrathecal administered drugs with special attention to drug lipophilicity. In the second category, the variables in CSF flow, are considered that can modify the drug distribution within the CSF with special attention to the new theories of liquoral circulation. Last category try to explain inter-individual difference in baclofen response with difference that are specific for each patients such as the anatomical area to treat, patient posture or reaction to inflammatory stimulus. We conclude that a comprehensive evaluation of the patients, including imaging techniques to study the anatomy and physiology of intrathecal environment and CSF dynamics, could become essential in the future to the purpose of optimize the clinical outcome of intrathecal therapy.


baclofen; chronic pain; intrathecal drug delivery; opioids; spasticity

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