Document Type



Background: Iontophoresis utilizes a transcutaneous process to deliver charged medication to a localized area of injury via an electrical current to remedy pain symptoms. Although this practice is largely used in the physical and occupational therapy settings, there is little evidence showing its use and efficacy in the emergency department as a therapeutic modality.

Methods: Through the voluntary enrollment of 39participants, 21 in the treatment group and 18 serving as controls, subjects were treated via iontophoresis using lidocaineHCl and dexamethasone or oral NSAID therapy alone. Measurements of pain were numerated in person on the visualanalogue scale (VAS) using a 010 range immediately prior to treatment, 30 minutes after treatment, and via phone at 24 and 72hours after treatment for both groups.

Results: At the initiation of treatment, average pain scores for the treatment and control groups were 7.29 and 6.50, respectively. Greater reduction in pain was seen in the iontophoresis group compared to the control group; 62% pain reduction in the iontophoresis group and only 8% reduction in the control group at 30minutes posttreatment (p

Conclusions: These results are promising in using iontophoresis as an effective treatment modality in the management of acute soft tissue injuries in the emergency department. They not only show greater pain reduction, but iontophoresis reduced the number of oral NSAIDs required for pain relief, lowering the complications associated with these medications.


The University of Toledo


Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections

Digital Publisher

Translation: The University of Toledo Journal of Medical Sciences