Mechanical Pumps

The mechanical pump approach employs miniature mechanical devices, such as implantable and portable infusion pumps and percutaneous infusion catheters, to deliver drugs into appropriate blood vessels or to a discrete site in the body. When compared with the conventional drug therapy, these devices offer several advantages: (i) the rate of the drug infusion can be better controlled; (ยป') a relatively large volume of relatively dilute drug solutions can be administered; (ii'i) the drug dose can be readily changed, stopped, or alternated with other drugs, or a placebo when required; and (iv) the drug can be directed into a vascular site or body cavity using the drug-delivery cannula (e.g., hepatic arterial chemotherapy, intrathecal morphine infusion for pain control, intraventricular and intraarticular treatment of central nervous system tumors, intravenous infusions of heparin in thrombotic disorders, and intravenous infusions of insulin in type II diabetes). Several excellent review articles describing design and applications of infusion and implantable pumps in drug therapy, particularly insulin therapy, have been published (401-406). Drugs such as floxuridine (5-fluorodexyuridine) and zidovudine (azidothymine; AZT) have also been investigated for delivery using an implantable pump (407).

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