2012 Volume 52 Issue 7 Pages 463-469
Intrathecal baclofen (ITB) therapy is a treatment for intractable spasticity due to a variety of causes. Continuous intrathecal administration of baclofen, an agonist of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid, inhibits excitation of motor neurons at the spinal level and thus suppresses spasticity. This therapy was introduced clinically in the Europe and the United States in the 1990s, and was finally approved by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan in 2005. Clinical use has been permitted since 2006, and reports of therapeutic efficacy are now appearing in Japan. ITB therapy is a non-destructive treatment that enables administration of baclofen from an implantable pump under the control of a programmer, and represents an outstanding treatment method offering both reversibility and adjustability. Indications for ITB therapy have been expanding in recent years to include not only spasticity, but also various causes dystonia. And ITB therapy can greatly improve activities of daily living and quality of life, and this treatment is attracting attention as a neuromodulatory therapy that also affects metabolic and respiratory functions and even state of consciousness. We here report the surgical methods and therapeutic outcomes for 22 patients who underwent ITB therapy for spastic and dystonic patients in our hospital, together with an investigation of the effects on metabolic and respiratory functions.