Q: How does Prometra® manage my pain?
A: The spinal cord is the main pathway connecting your brain to the rest of the nerves in the body. One of the ways in which doctors can help patients manage their pain is to provide them with medicines that block the transmission of pain signals to the spinal cord. If taken by mouth, large doses of medicines are required in order to have an effect, since many bodily systems process and absorb oral medicines before they can reach the spine.
Some patients experience undesirable side effects from the absorption of medicines before they reach the spinal cord. These side effects can sometimes be worse than the pain the medicine is intended to help manage. As an alternative to taking medicines by mouth, medicines can be delivered directly to the spinal fluid that surrounds the spine.
By delivering the medicines directly to the spine, a very small amount of medicine is required to achieve the equivalent effect of a much larger oral dose. By bypassing nearly all of the parts of the body that absorb oral medicines, (potentially causing) undesirable side effects, 1/300th of the equivalent dose of medicine can be used.
The medication will be refilled into the pump every 30 to 90 days depending on your dosage. The refill procedure is simple: your doctor or nurse will find the pump under your skin by palpation. Then, medication is injected through a thin needle into the refill septum of the Prometra drug delivery system. If needed, your healthcare provider is also able to access the catheter to administer a larger dosage of medication.
Q: What is intrathecal therapy?
A: Intrathecal therapy is the use of an implanted medicine delivery system that administers medication into the targeted area of the spine, known as the intrathecal space.
These systems typically include a pump that stores the medicine to be delivered and is connected to a flexible tube called a catheter, which carries the medicine from the pump to the intrathecal space. Since pumps have a limited supply of medicine, they typically have special access ports called septums, through which needles can enter in order to refill medicine supplies.
Over time, a patient’s symptoms may change or they may develop a tolerance to certain medications. Should this occur, doctors are able to adjust the dosage of medicine delivered to the spine. In order to communicate with the pump, devices similar to remote controls are used to program the pump to change dosing schedules.
The Prometra drug delivery system is designed to give your doctor a tremendous amount of control over the way medicine is delivered to your spine. It is programmable and has a very long battery life to remain functional in your body for many years.
Q: Will I need a lot of medication to manage my pain?
A: Typically, patients with the Prometra drug delivery system only require 7 drops of medicine a day for therapeutic relief. Because no medicine is being absorbed by the body on the way to the spinal cord, the amount of drug typically being delivered by intrathecal pumps per day is very low. The Prometra drug delivery system controls the flow of medicine with valves in a precision dosing system and minimizes the affect factors like weather, atmospheric pressure, reservoir fill level, and medicine flow rate have on the accuracy of the delivery of medicine.
Q: How can I find a doctor if I am interested in Prometra for my pain condition?
A: You can ask your current pain management doctor if they are able to do the surgical procedure to implant the Prometra drug delivery system. If they are not able to do so, ask for a referral or use our form to find a physician near you who does the procedure.