Advances in intrathecal analgesia and intrathecal drug delivery systems have allowed for a range of medications to be used in the control of pain and spasticity. This technique allows for reduced medication doses that can decrease the side effects typically associated with oral or parenteral drug delivery. Recent expert panel consensus guidelines have provided care paths in the treatment of nociceptive, neuropathic, and mixed pain syndromes. While the data for pain relief, adverse effect reduction, and cost-effectiveness with cancer pain control are compelling, the evidence is less clear for noncancer pain, other than spasticity. Physicians should be aware of mechanical, pharmacological, surgical, and patient-specific complications, including possible granuloma formation. Newer intrathecal drug delivery systems may allow for better safety and quality of life outcomes.
Keywords: drug delivery systems; intrathecal analgesia; pain control.