Medical Device Helps Heroin Addicts Detox

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved
a “percutaneous nerve field simulator” for use in treating those
addicted to heroin and other opioid drugs.
The United States is currently in the grip of an opioid addiction
epidemic, caused largely by over-prescription of painkillers such
as Oxycontin and Vicodin. As a result, drug overdoses are now the
leading cause of death among under-50s in the US, having overtaken
car accidents and shootings. One reason this problem has proven so
intractable is that for those addicted to opiates, withdrawal symptoms
can be crippling.
The NSS-2 Bridge from Innovative Health Solutions is designed
to make coming off such drugs easier, by vastly reducing those
.ymptoms. The electrical nerve stimulator is placed behind the
t1>atient’s ear, and contains a battery-powered chip that emits
/ electrical pulses to stimulate branches of certain cranial nerves via
diodes that attach to the skin. These pulses are said to offer relief
from withdrawal symptoms such as sweating, gastrointestinal upset,
agitation, insomnia and joint pain. The device, which will only be
available on prescription, can be worn for up to five days, which is
about how long acute physical symptoms of withdrawal usually last.
FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb said: “The FDA is committed
to supporting the development of novel treatments, both drugs and
devices, that can be used to address opioid dependence or addiction,
as well as new, non-addictive treatments for pain that can serve as
alternatives to opioids.”

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