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Medtronic Pain Pump

There are many old comments about the pain pump. I would like some comments to see how many people have them and how they are managed.

I love my pump. I am on my second one, the first was inserted 03/08/08. I never questioned my Dr. about my refills. I was told my concentration was about as high as you could get and that's why it only lasted about 28-30 days.  I originally had Fentanyl, Baclofen, Clonedine, Droperidol, and Bupivicaine. Within the first 6 months we found I was having a bad reaction to Fentanyl even though I could take it in other forms. I was switched to Dilaudid. Over the last 3 years they have taken out everything except Dilaudid and Baclofen. About 6-8 months ago my Dr talked to me about switching from Dilaudid to non-narcotic Prialt. He said we would do it very slow because it had so many side effect, but if I could handle it that would be much better for me. My question to everyone is why after at least 10 years have I had to have my pump filled every month and now it's lasting at least 45 days between refills.

I have read so many people who have 3-6 month refills and I can't get a straight answer from my Dr. So has he just been money hungry all these years? I actually rescheduled my 30 day appointment to the 45th it would run out & the office switched it back & said I never called but I have a record of my call to them on my cell phone. I tried to change it back & they say I can't go past 30 days to have it filled. The Dr always pulls whatever meds are left in my pump  & mixes it with the new meds going in, so he can't say the meds expire.



  • Hello Lisa

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  • Is funny pain pumps are not available in NC is what my pain doc says. Anyone in NC have have a pain pump? I am just curious. 

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  •  That's very odd. I have a Medtronic pump that holds 40cc or so; all I know I have one with a large reservoir and I go in every 4 months for pump refills. I can understand if you had a smaller model but the refills should not be every month. I would contact Medtronic with the specs to see if this is the case. I've read in a study that it is not good to have more than 2 medications in the pump. I've done well over the years with Dilaudid and Bupivicaine. Getting a pump was the best decision for me and I've had no major issues with it. It is also really important to have a pain specialist who is very experienced in pain pumps. 
    Ol' Spiney..Micro-D L4-L5, TLIF L4-S1 -post op central HNP L4-S1,stenosis, retrolisthesis, EF, facet arthropathy, lumbar& cervical DDD. FBSS- Medtronic pain pump & SCS
  • I have a baclofen pump, although he's not working right now due to a csf leak.  But, my doc did say when I have refills, they're every 3 mos.  I don't really understand it, because most sources say it's good for up to every 6 months.

    ACDF w/Corpectomy C3-6 12/8/14 ; Laminectomy C3-6  5/19/2016

  • I've had one since 2001.  Well 4 now as they are replaced every 5-6 years and I had some issues with losing weight and one Dr. put it back in to high.

    Refills are all based on the Concentration of the drugs and how much you are getting.  That and the size of your pump.  Most are 40 ml these days but, there are 20 ml.  ( Used to be the main one back when I started with mine. )

    So, let's say you have Morphine and Baclofen to make it easy.  Your Dr. runs everything off one medicine and lets make it the Baclofen.   

    Look at the Concentration.

    BACLOFEN.  500 mg/ml

    Morphine 6 mg/ml. and he wants you to get 250 mg of Baclofen a day.  So, 250/day will take 2 days to do 500 or 1 ml of the Concentration.  So, you have 40 ml total.  So 2 days X  40= 80 days. And since you are getting 50% of Baclofen/day you would get 50% of the Morphine or 3 mg/day.

    Hope that helps.

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  • Hello, I have had my pain pump since 2002, and it saved my life, literally.

    Prior to getting my pain pump I was on tons of high dosages of oral pain meds.  I was so drugged up that I could not even function (my speech was slurred, my gait was so unbalanced from the meds that it resulted in many, many, falls, and embarrassingly I even had frequent episodes of incontinence), and yet all those high potency meds still failed to even touch the surface of my severe pain.  I began more and more anxious, very withdrawn, and severely depressed.  I considered suicide on a daily basis which was not only due to the severity of my unrelieved pain, but my complete lack of not having any quality of life at all.  Then my pain pump was inserted, my meds went from that huge sedating amount to just 4mg of Morphine/Bupivacaine per day via pump, and thankfully life began to occur again. 

    Don't get me wrong, I do still suffer with constant daily chronic pain, and require opiates, and muscle relaxers daily for breakthrough pain, antianxiety, and depression meds for those issues, plus I've had also had a total of 38 surgeries on various parts of my body, and have a lot of other none back and neck related issues, but I'm still not as bad off as it was prior to getting my pain pump, and one of the best parts is I can actually function somewhat normally again.      

    I had my pump implanted in 2002, had to have a revision done 3 months later due to the skin pocket in my abdomen being made too large which allowed my pump to flip and seal with the port side in. I have had 2 replacement surgeries for battery changes, and had to have a catheter replacement due to a suture splitting, this left me with the meds being delivered to the wrong area, and me receiving little to no pain relief for almost a year and a half. (I told the doctor many times that there was something wrong with it, but he refused to listen, and kept blowing it off by saying it appears to be running right, etc.  I had my pump med dosage increased many times during this time to no avail.  So, when he went to change my pump for battery replacement, he initially wasn't going to bother my catheter, but I insisted at that time that the catheter needed to also be replaced, and again informed him that something was wrong with it.  He was totally shocked when he removed the old catheter, and found a big tear from a suture in it which had almost split it in half.  

     For 12 years I had Morphine and Bupivacaine in my pump, but was unable to have the Morphine increased any higher due to side effects, as I would constantly throw up when I'd reach a certain dosage. So, I've had Dilaudid and Bupivacaine in mine since 2014, and although it tends to cause me to be somewhat more confused than the Morphine did, so far, so good on any other major side effects.  

    I have had to have the dosage of my Bupivicane decreased because it was all of the sudden causing my entire left side of my body to go numb.  This occurred right around the 12 year mark, and that apparently is a side effect that has occurred in several people.  The doctor wanted to completely remove it but I asked him to leave it in and just decrease the dosage of it because in my trial run the Morphine alone would not control my pain, and I truly believe the Bupivicane is as beneficial, if not more beneficial, than the Morphine or Dilaudid at helping to control my pain. 

    Anyway, I think that about covers the story of me, and my pain pump journey. If I had it to do over again, I'd do it again in a second.  I've recommended pain pumps to several people throughout the years, and had several discussions with people regarding the pros and cons of a pain pump when they were considering having one implanted.  Are pain pumps perfect, I don't think so, but they are certainly close enough to perfect for me.    

    Have a wonderful, and hopefully pain free night!!!          

  • MikethepikeMMikethepike MIchiganPosts: 681

     Just one question does the pain pump cover pain in your whole body 

     Or just specific areas and how much of an area

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 6,473

    An interthecal pain pump delivers the meds directly into your spine and does not go all over your body. My cath is at T10.

    We have had a few people with pain pumps in the past, they come and go. Right now, I think I'm the only one left. But hopefully you will stick around. More people are beginning to ask questions about a pump, so jump in there when you can. It would be greatly appreciated.
    My neurosurgeon and PM doctor will not mix drugs in a pump. But then every doctor is different. I could tolerate and live with a pain level of 4 or less. But we can't get there. My PM works with me and will try anything I suggest. I am very tiny and he's so afraid to give me too much. But he also knows I have a high tolerance for pain meds. I've had the genetic testing done and morphine came out on top. I have kept a journal every day of pain levels, what changes and why. So that has helped him too.

    Thank you for sharing your story and I know you've got lots more to tell. And I hope you do.

    Veritas-Health Forum Moderator
    Please read my  Medical History
  • Do you ever have side effects when your pump is refilled with new meds. It seems like my husband is really drugged for a good 24 or so hours after a refill ?

  • Do you ever have side effects when your pump is refilled with new meds. It seems like my husband is really dr

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