Bolus Intrathecal Injection of Ziconotide (Prialt®) to Evaluate the Option of Continuous Administration via an Implanted Intrathecal Drug Delivery (ITDD) System: A Pilot Study


  • Conflict of Interest: S. Eldabe and K.H. Simpson both have received honoraria for presentations and lecture from Eisai UK/Europe. S. Eldabe has done some consulting work for Eisai. Eisai are part funding M. Brookes' MSc. H. Radford received honorarium for presentations and lectures on Ziconotide from Eisai Europe. Neither E. Buchser nor C. Perruchoud has any conflict of interest related to this article.
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This study evaluated efficacy and safety of bolus doses of ziconotide (Prialt®, Eisai Limited, Hertfordshire, UK) to assess the option of continuous administration of this drug via an implanted intrathecal drug delivery system.

Materials and Methods

Twenty adults with severe chronic pain who were under consideration for intrathecal (IT) therapy were enrolled in this open label, nonrandomized, pilot study. Informed consent was obtained. Demographics, medical/pain history, pain scores, and concomitant medications were recorded. A physical examination was performed. Creatine kinase was measured. Initial visual analog scale (VAS), blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate were recorded. All patients received an initial bolus dose of 2.5 mcg ziconotide; the dose in the subsequent visits was modified according to response. Subsequent doses were 2.5 mcg, 1.2 mcg, or 3.75 mcg as per protocol. A good response (≥30% reduction in baseline pain VAS) with no side-effects on two occasions was considered a successful trial. Data were analyzed using a generalized estimating equations model, with pain VAS as the outcome and time (seven time points; preinjection and one to six hours postinjection) as the predictor.


Generalized estimating equations analysis of summary measures showed a mean reduction of pain VAS of approximately 25% at the group level; of 11 responders, seven underwent pump implantation procedure, two withdrew because of adverse effects, one refused an implant, and one could not have an implant (lack of funding from the Primary Care Trust).


Our data demonstrated that mean VAS was reduced by approximately 25% at the group level after IT ziconotide bolus. Treatment efficacy did not vary with sex, center, age, or pain etiology. Ziconotide bolus was generally well tolerated. Larger studies are needed to determine if bolus dosing with ziconotide is a good predictor of response to continuous IT ziconotide via an intrathecal drug delivery system.