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Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis – Dennis M., Occupational Therapist

Iontophoresis is a method of topically delivering medication into a localized are of tissue by using the force of direct  electric current to create a therapeutic effect . Iontophoresis is used to treat inflammatory conditions such as carpel tunnel, epicondylitis, ulnar nerve inflammation, elbow strain/sprain, bursitis, tendonitis and dequervains, modify scar tissue and manipulate the healing process.

A benefit of using Iontophoresis is that the medication remains relatively local to the treatment area and is not absorbed into the GI tract, so as to avoid some of the complications of oral medication. Also the risk of infection from the applied medication are minimized and performed in a short period of time.

The four basic components of Iontophoresis include: a  power source of generating the controlled direct current,drug containment and dispersive electrodes, the medication and  the skin. Applying direct current to the skin assists in movement of the drug into the underlying tissues. Dexamethasone is the most widely applied medications used by therapist due to its inflammatory action.

Some of the precautions/contraindications are: patients known sensitivity/allergy to the medication administered should never have Iontophoresis, due to the possible anaphylactic reaction; those who are pregnant, patients with diabetes or insulin dependent ; or over a skin area that is irriatated.

This is not a complete list so consult recommended references such as: Dr. Bracciano: Physical Agent Modalities; Dr. Michelle H. Cameron: Physical Agents in Rehabilitation.