Narrative review of intrathecal drug delivery (IDD): indications, devices and potential complications

Michele Antonio Capozza, Silvia Triarico, Stefano Mastrangelo, Giorgio Attinà, Palma Maurizi, Antonio Ruggiero

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


The management of chronic refractory pain (non-neoplastic and cancer-related pain) remains a therapeutic challenge. The continuous intrathecal (IT) administration of drugs may play an important role in the possible management options. Intrathecal drug delivery devices (IDDDs) may be effective for patients with refractory chronic pain. Therefore, they may be adopted for non-oncologic pain in patients with compression fractures, spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, back surgery failure syndrome and spinal stenosis. Oncologic patients can benefit from these treatments in a variable way according to tumor characteristics, prognosis, periprocedural imaging and risk of disease progression. In this review, we describe the most commonly used drugs (opioids and non-opioids), their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic features and indications of use. The most used drugs are morphine, hydromorphone, fentanyl, methadone, bupivacaine, clonidine, and ketamine. Patient evaluation before the device implantation should be based on clinical examination, medical records assessment and psychometric evaluation. The infusion pumps available on the market are both non-programmable (with continuous IT deliver of drugs) and programmable (with variable deliver of drugs according to their flow rate). Moreover, we describe the procedure of implantation and the potential complications of IT drug delivery (such as bleeding, infection, loss of cerebrospinal fluid, wound seroma, loss of catheter pump propellant).
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1-10
Numero di pagine10
RivistaAnnals of Translational Medicine
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Intrathecal drug delivery devices (IDDDs)
  • chronic pain
  • complications, surgical implant
  • opioids


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