Medtronic Launches Control Workflow—An Evidence-Based Protocol for Use With Intrathecal Drug Delivery Pump for Effective Pain Relief

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Control Workflow system (Medtronic, Dublin, Ireland) is an evidence-based approach for use with the intrathecal drug delivery pump (SynchroMed II; Medtronic) to assist physicians in treating patients with chronic intractable pain while weaning the patient of oral opioids. Use of the protocol and pump together have been shown to provide effective pain relief at a substantially reduced dose compared to oral opioids. Retrospective analysis of patient outcomes for those with chronic nonmalignant pain who used the intrathecal delivery pump alone showed that 51% (n = 389) stopped using oral opioids after 1 year. 

With the Control Workflow system, physicians can identify which patients are likely to have positive outcomes with the intrathecal delivery pump. This system also supports tapering and drug-free periods, termed holidays, to help patients achieve pain relief at the lowest effective dose of intrathecal medication. Developed by clinicians, the evidence-based approach of the Control Workflow system guides clinical use of the pump, including treatment initiation, catheter placement, and dosing, all of which may affect outcomes with the goal of sustained pain relief and functional improvement.

"The Control Workflow assists me in identifying appropriate patients who could benefit from targeted drug delivery using the Medtronic pain pump, which is especially important with the current opioid epidemic in the US," said John A. Hatheway, MD, owner and provider, Northwest Pain Care, Spokane, Wash. "The workflow is especially helpful for patients who may be on high doses or cannot tolerate systemic opioids, or for those who are not finding pain relief with systemic opioid therapy. By placing the medication at the source of the pain, we can often provide better pain relief with fewer side effects at a fraction of the oral dose."

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