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Jay M. Meythaler, Anne McCary and Mark N. Hadley

✓ Twelve consecutive patients with severe spasticity and hypertonia following acquired brain injury were treated with continuous intrathecal infusion of baclofen via an implanted, programmable infusion pump—catheter system for a minimum of 3 months. In every case intrathecal baclofen therapy resulted in a statistically significant reduction in upper- and lower-extremity tone, spasm frequency, and reflexes, contributing to improved functional abilities. There were no untoward side effects or complications associated with treatment.

This preliminary assessment indicates that intrathecal administration of baclofen is effective in treating the disabling spasticity caused by acquired brain injury in selected patients.

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Robert J. Coffey, David Cahill, William Steers, T. S. Park, Joe Ordia, Jay Meythaler, Richard Herman, Andrew G. Shetter, Robert Levy, Brian Gill, Richard Smith, Jack Wilberger, John D. Loeser, Charles Chabal, Claudio Feler, James T. Robertson, Richard D. Penn, Aiden Clarke, Kim J. Burchiel and Lyal G. Leibrock

✓ A total of 93 patients with intractable spasticity due to either spinal cord injury (59 cases), multiple sclerosis (31 cases), or other spinal pathology (three cases) were entered into a randomized double-blind placebocontrolled screening protocol of intrathecal baclofen test injections. Of the 88 patients who responded to an intrathecal bolus of 50, 75, or 100 µg of baclofen, 75 underwent implantation of a programmable pump system for chronic therapy. Patients were followed for 5 to 41 months after surgery (mean 19 months). No deaths or new permanent neurological deficits occurred as a result of surgery or chronic intrathecal baclofen administration. Rigidity was reduced from a mean preoperative Ashworth scale score of 3.9 to a mean postoperative score of 1.7. Muscle spasms were reduced from a mean preoperative score of 3.1 (on a fourpoint scale) to a mean postoperative score of 1.0. Although the dose of intrathecal baclofen required to control spasticity increased with time, drug tolerance was not a limiting factor in this study. Only one patient withdrew from the study because of a late surgical complication (pump pocket infection). Another patient received an intrathecal baclofen overdose because of a human error in programming the pump. The results of this study indicate that intrathecal baclofen infusion can be safe and effective for the long-term treatment of intractable spasticity in patients with spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis.