Safety Alert Or Field Safety Notices for SynchroMed® implantable drug pump

According to Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, this safety alert or field safety notices involved a device in United Kingdom that was produced by Medtronic.

What is this?

Field safety notices are communications sent out by medical device manufacturers or their representatives in relation to actions that they may be taking in relation to their product that is on the market. These are mainly for health workers, but also for users. They can include recalls and alerts.

Learn more about the data here
  • Type of Event
    Safety alert / Field Safety Notice
  • Event Number
  • Date
  • Event Date Posted
  • Event Country
  • Event Source
  • Event Source URL
  • Notes / Alerts
    Data from the United Kingdom is current through April 2019. All of the data comes from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, except for the categories Manufacturer Parent Company and Product Classification.
    The Parent Company and the Product Classification were added by ICIJ.
    The parent company information is based on 2017 public records. The device classification information comes from FDA’s Product Classification by Review Panel, based on matches of recall data from the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
  • Extra notes in the data
    MHRA is aware of five incidents in the United Kingdom where the use of diamorphine solution has resulted in malfunction of the SynchroMed® pump. In four of these incidents, pump malfunction led to cessation of drug delivery (motor stalling) resulting in return of patient symptoms. In the remaining incident (still under investigation) pump malfunction led to over-infusion of diamorphine solution and the patient suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest.Failure analysis of the four cases of motor stalling by Medtronic has shown that motor stalling was associated with the long-term administration of diamorphine solution, where the materials of the internal components were damaged. Diamorphine (diacetyl morphine) in aqueous solution will degrade over time, producing an insoluble active compound (6-monoacetyl morphine), which is an acetate and is believed to have caused the damage to the pump.Current Instructions for Use for the SynchroMed® implantable drug pump do not include diamorphine in the list of medications that are compatible with the pump.In October 2002 Medtronic distributed an “Educational Brief: Revised Drug Formulation SynchroMed® Infusion System”, which listed drugs and additives known to be incompatible with the SynchroMed® implantable drug pump. Diamorphine was not included in this listing since its adverse effect had not been recognised at that time. To clarify this situation Medtronic plans to distribute further information shortly.It is estimated that there are 1200 SynchroMed® drug pumps currently implanted in the UK.
  • Reason
    (medtronic) diamorphine solution is incompatible with the implantable drug pump. (mda/2003/035).
  • Action
    For patients currently receiving diamorphine solution via the SynchroMed® pump, clinicians should consider :changing to an alternative medication compatible with the pump as soon as possible (note that changing the patient’s medication requires careful assessment and observation by experienced personnel); elective replacement of the pump when patient management dictates. Clinicians should be aware that other drugs are contraindicated for delivery via SynchroMed® implantable drug pumps. Where doubt exists, check the instructions for use as supplied with the pump, or seek manufacturer’s advice.


  • Model / Serial
  • Product Description
    Medtronic SynchroMed® Implantable Drug Pump.
  • Manufacturer


  • Manufacturer Parent Company (2017)
  • Manufacturer comment
    “If our surveillance systems identify a potential performance issue, our personnel promptly evaluate the problem, including, when appropriate, conducting root cause investigations and internal testing to assess whether the product continues to meet specifications and defined performance criteria,” Medtronic told ICIJ in a statement. “In some cases, based on this evaluation, Medtronic may determine that a recall is necessary.” The company said that it communicates with healthcare providers and/or patients and provide recommendations to address such issues. Medtronic noted that these communications can include letters, emails, calls, press releases, physician notifications and social media postings, as well as informing the FDA and other regulators of the actions.
  • Source