Neurostimulation therapy modifies pain signals as they travel to the brain through invasive implants or non-invasive devices. Used for decades as a means to treat a variety of nerve-related ailments, innovative applications of this technology are emerging, including the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) patients experiencing withdrawal.
An effective neurostimulation device is the Percutaneous Nerve Field Stimulator (PNFS), a non-invasive intervention that provides deep nerve stimulation through the cutaneous branches of the ear. This device provides a number of benefits for OUD patients struggling with early withdrawal symptoms and can complement long term medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
3 Key Benefits of the PNFS Device for Opioid Withdrawl Treatment
1. Eases Early Withdrawl Symptoms
The onset of opioid withdrawal symptoms occurs between 12 to 30 hours of last use, depending on the type of opioid. This is a critical time for the OUD patient, as drug cravings coupled with painful physical and psychological symptoms rapidly increase the desire to use. The PNFS provides auricular neurostimulation treatment for up to 10 days, offering relief well past when peak withdrawal symptoms occur. The duration of each patient’s treatment is determined by frequent measurement of the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) until the cravings subside.
2. Provides An Early Alternative to Medication-Assisted Treatment
MAT is commonly used for OUD patients, both long and short term. The most widely used medications include opioid agonists (Methadone), partial opioid agonists (Buprenorphine), and opioid antagonists (Naltrexone, Vivitrol). Each works in the brain differently and for varying durations of time. Tolerance to these medications is different for each OUD patient, so dosage is based on their own specific opioid use history and may need to titrate up or down during treatment. MAT can last for days or months, depending on the OUD patient’s unique needs.
As the PNFS alleviates early withdrawal symptoms, it can be used as an alternative to starting MAT within the 5 to 10 days of withdrawal. For some OUD patients who used opioids less frequently or at lower doses, the PNFS may even help shorten the duration of MAT. While all means of treating OUD patients must be administered under the guidance of a medical professional, the PNFS alleviates the need for variable dosing and does not pharmacologically interfere with brain chemistry. Furthermore, the PNFS device may be removed at any time and does not require the detoxification period common with medications used to treat opioid withdrawal.
3. Eliminates the Risk of Overdose
The PNFS carries no risk of overdose or drug interactions. Some medications used to treat withdrawal symptoms may lead to low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, fainting, respiratory problems, severe sedation, coma, and even death. However, the PNFS offers a non-addictive solution to early withdrawal symptoms without the harmful side effects of other options.
Comparison of MAT to the PNFS (S.T. Genesis)
S.T. Genesis is an FDA cleared PNSF device that supports the reduction of opioid withdrawal symptoms though non-invasive, non-pharmacological intervention. This device supports patients through high addiction and relapse prone situations, serving as a bridge from successful detox to complete recovery. To learn more about S.T. Genesis please visit: http://test.speranzatherapeutics.com/st-genesis/