Abstract 7


The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 4:109-112, 1982.

Iontophoresis: Clinical Research in Musculosketal Inflammatory Conditions

Phil R. Harris, MA, PT
Physical Therapy Associates, Inc.
Salt Lake City, Utah
ABSTRACT

Fifty patients with various musculoskeletal inflammatory conditions were treated with iontophoresis (direct current 5 millamperes, 20 minutes). The treatment drugs were 1 cubic centimeter, 4 milligrams per milliliter of dexamethasone sodium phosphate (Decadron) combined with 2 cubic centimeters of 4% Xylocaine. [One to three treatments were administered within a one week period]. Thirty-eight of the 50 patients had an excellent relief of pain and symptoms, seven reported moderate relief, and five patients had little or no change. There were no significant side effects. It was concluded that iontophoresis is an effective mode of delivering ionized antiinflammatory drugs to inflamed tissues. It is effective, painless, and safe, and provides a viable treatment.
RESULTS and DISCUSSION
?Seventy-five percent of the patients had excellent to good results; 14% had significant relief of pain and an increase of strength and range of motion; and five patients (11%) had little or no relief of pain and symptoms.

?A positive result frequently came between 24 and 48 hours after the treatment. There also appeared to be a cumulative effect as several patients did not respond significantly until after the second or third treatment. Frequently, patients also had an immediate relief of pain for 2 to 3 hours, and in some cases, permanently.

?There were no major side effects in the 50 patients treated.

?There are several advantages favoring iontophoresis over an injection: the treatment is non-traumatic and painless; tissue damage due to needle penetration and subcutaneous injection of a bolus fluid is avoided, and the treatment is sterile, which is important when corticosteroid drugs are used.

?In summary, iontophoresis is an effective mode of delivering ionized antiinflammatory drugs to inflamed tissues. It is effective, painless, and safe and provides a viable alternative treatment.
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