Intrathecal baclofen abolishes spasticity in many patients with neurological diseases but there are few studies on its long-term effectiveness. Since 1986 a manually operated subcutaneous pump has been used to deliver baclofen intrathecally in 21 patients with a follow up of at least one year. Most patients had multiple sclerosis and all were wheelchair-bound. Sixteen patients had a complete and sustained benefit. In four other patients the treatment was effective in the short term but not in the long term. In the remaining patient the pump never worked. Complications included meningitis, pump failure, erosion through the skin, and baclofen overdose. Nevertheless, only three patients have asked to discontinue the treatment. We conclude that intrathecal baclofen, delivered by a manually operated implanted pump, is an effective treatment for severe spasticity in most patients.
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