Intrathecal baclofen withdrawal: A case report and review of the literature

Tord D. Alden, Richard A. Lytle, T. S. Park, Michael J. Noetzel, Jeffrey G. Ojemann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Introduction: Spasticity is an endpoint of a variety of neurologic disorders with upper motor neuron damage. There have been several studies demonstrating improvement in spasticity through administration of intrathecal baclofen. Withdrawal from oral baclofen has been well described. Intrathecal baclofen withdrawal has been less frequently reported. We present a case of withdrawal after intrathecal baclofen pump catheter failure. Patient: A 14-year-old boy presented with fevers, which were thought to be related to recent spine surgery and possible pneumonia. Eventual workup revealed evidence of intrathecal baclofen withdrawal owing to pump catheter failure. His fevers, with temperatures of up to 40°C, and painful muscle spasms resolved and his clinical condition improved after pump exploration and resumption of intrathecal delivery. Conclusions: Intrathecal baclofen withdrawal can be life threatening. Prompt recognition and restoration of an adequate intrathecal baclofen dose is essential for recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-525
Number of pages4
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • Complications
  • Implantable infusion pumps
  • Intrathecal baclofen
  • Spasticity
  • Withdrawal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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