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Your intrathecal baclofen pump gives you medicine to help with your muscle tone problems. The pump holds a certain amount of medicine and needs to be refilled by your health care provider before it runs out of baclofen. 

Your refill will take about 10 to 15 minutes and you can usually go back to work or school afterward. We’ll give you a copy of your pump print out. This gives you the most current information about your dose and alarm date. 


How often will my pump need to be refilled?

While most people’s pumps need to be refilled every 3 to 4 months, the frequency of your refill will depend on your daily dose and medicine strength. Some people have their pumps refilled as often as once a month, or as rarely as once every 6 months. 

We’ll schedule your next refill appointment before you leave the clinic. 


What is an alarm date?

This date is when your pump only has a few days of medicine left. Your health care provider can help you find the alarm date on your pump printout. You should get the pump refilled 3 to 5 days before this date. If the pump runs out of medicine, you might go into baclofen withdrawal, which is painful and might be life threatening. 

You’ll need to tell the scheduler your pump’s alarm date when you make a refill appointment. 


What happens during a pump refill?

When you come to the clinic for your pump refill, the nurse will read your pump with a programmer. This will tell us your dose, medicine concentration, and how the medicine is running (infusion mode). You’ll be asked about your tone, current medicines, and general health. The nurse practitioner will then check your tone and range of motion. 

The pump is refilled with a needle. We will use a spray or cream anesthetic to make the procedure more comfortable for you. Most patients will lie on an exam table during the refill. The skin over the pump will be cleaned with an antiseptic and allowed to dry. Don’t touch the area after it has been cleaned. 

We’ll insert a needle into the pump to remove the unused medicine. Most patients will feel some pressure on your abdomen. Then we’ll inject the new medicine into your pump. 


What about dose changes?

If your health care provider changes your dose, it usually will be done at the time of your refill. It is likely we’ll increase your dose until we reach an amount that works for you. It takes 12 to 24 hours for a dose change to take effect. 

Check with your health-care provider if you have additional questions or concerns. 

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.