Personal Therapy Manager (PTM) is a patient-activated PDA pain control device by Medtronic, for use with implanted SynchroMed® II drug pumps. Introduced by the company in November, the system is an FDA-approved chronic pain treatment that can respond to episodes of increased pain by delivering supplemental intrathecal doses of pain medication pre-prescribed by a physician, on patient’s demand. Previously, patients with such pamps received a constant dose of pain medication that had been pre-set by a physician. From an article at the BusinessWeek:
The more sophisticated PTM works with the latest generation of one of Medtronic’s most innovative and enduring products, the SynchroMed II drug infusion system, rather than neurostimulation. A breakthrough when it was released in 1988, SynchroMed delivers a drug such as morphine directly to the spinal cord, where certain types of pain are signaled to the brain.
A painkiller taken in pill form, in contrast, would first have to be digested. Thanks to this highly targeted delivery system, doctors prescribe less medicine, which lowers drug costs. Moreover, patients feel fewer side effects.
In 1999, during a routine focus-group session Medtronic held to evaluate its second-generation SynchroMed intrathecal drug-delivery device, doctors almost unanimously agreed that the pump needed a patient-controlled mechanism.
“We hadn’t thought of a patient controller for the SynchroMed previously,” says Tom Valine, a senior product manager at Medtronic who oversaw the PTM’s development. “But the physicians overwhelmingly urged us to create one. They argued that intrathecal drug delivery is a very patient-focused therapy, and that patient control was essential. We rarely see such unanimity.”