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Outpatient Baclofen Pump Management

Child Neurology Consultants of Austin has the only pediatric physician in Austin, Dr. Jinfon Ong, who is professionally trained to manage baclofen pumps. Pumps may be refilled conveniently in our outpatient clinics for patients pending insurance verification. This allows you to fill baclofen pumps without having to be admitted in the hospital.

What is a Baclofen Pump?

Baclofen (also called Gablofen or Lioresal) is a skeletal muscle relaxant often used to treat increased muscle tone (hypertonia) and spasticity in children with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease or spinal cord damage. A baclofen pump is surgically implanted under the skin and consists of a pump and a catheter. The pump has a reservoir that holds the baclofen medicine. The catheter periodically delivers small amounts of baclofen into the spinal fluid. The medical provider will program the pump to release the right amount of medication, depending on your child’s needs.

How is a Baclofen Pump Managed?

After a baclofen pump is surgically placed, it is important to routinely see a trained medical provider to ensure it is working properly and the right amount of medication is being administered. The pump reservoir will need to be refilled every few months. The pump is refilled by inserting a needle through the skin into a refill port on the pump. The dose of baclofen can be adjusted anytime by a trained professional using a special tool and computer which communicates with the pump.

What Can I Expect During a Baclofen Refill?

When the pump needs a refill, here are the steps the provider will follow:

  1. The provider will clean the area with a topical antiseptic solution to prevent infections and the spread of germs.
  2. A small needle will be inserted into the port of the pump.
  3. The provider will empty any remaining medicine from the pump and refill it with new medicine.
  4. Once complete, the pump will be programmed to indicate a refill has been done. The pump will report when the next refill will be due.

What Are Side Effects of Baclofen?

Side effects may include sleepiness, constipation, nausea, weakness, dizziness, blurred vision, or altered urination (urinating more often, losing bladder control, or difficulty urinating). In some children with epilepsy, it can cause an increase in seizures. Call your physician if these side effects are persistent or disruptive to your child.

If you have any questions about baclofen pump management, contact our Child Neurology Consultants of Austin team at (512) 494-4000. You can also submit an online appointment request.