Studies have shown that intrathecal pumps are more cost effective over the last year of life for patients with cancer. This approach to treating cancer pain is still widely underused even though the treatment has been around for five decades. The reason for this is mostly because of the high up-front cost for the treatment. Dr Tim Deer, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Pain Relief in Charleston, W. VA said, " I think it's underused and used way too late in the treatment algorithm".
Opioids are commonly used for the treatment of pain in cancer patients while although they work it leaves the patients so mentally clouded they are not even able to communicate with their loved ones in the last months of their lives. The last months should not be taken for granted, and be spent with loved ones creating memories. If the patients who use intrathecal therapy are able to do that it should be used more frequently. When doctors were asked about the costs of intrathecal therapy many gave old prospectives on the therapy.
The reality is that a single shot trial cost is estimated at $36,000 and the more expensive outpatient trial was estimated at $66,000. Although these are high upfront costs, patients being treated with opioids for the last year of life were estimated to pay between $76,446 to $ 90,935 mostly due to cost of admissions throughout the year. One of the authors said this about insurance companies not being able to justify spending the money on someone who will pass away. "This is purely the cold hard facts of looking at the money side. This is an attempt to show at least, if you were simply a bean counter, could you be convinced that Intrathecal Therapy is at least cheaper to provide".
Cancer pain is real and Pain Management wants to help its patients manage that pain. Watch Dr. Bojrab and Dr. Hatch 11-9-10 on Indiana's News Center as they discuss different ways to control cancer pain