Iontophoretic Devices: Clinical Applications and Rehabilitation Medicine

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Interest within the healthcare profession in transdermal delivery of pharmaceuticals through passive, mechanical (phonophoresis) or electromotive (iontophoresis) forces has increased significantly throughout the past decade. The current review will examine the histology and cellular biology of the integument system as related to regulation of transcutaneous delivery of pharmaceutics, and examine currently accepted mechanism(s) of iontophoretic delivery. Additionally, a survey of current iontophoretic devices and electrodes available within the U.S. market, and the limitations of current technology will be presented. Experimental research supporting the use of iontophoresis for local delivery of pharmaceuticals will also be presented in conjunction with the outcomes of clinical investigations where iontophoresis was utilized for the local delivery of these pharmaceuticals. Topic areas to be covered within this section include iontophoresis of antibiotics into integument wounds, local anesthetics, and steroidal and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Finally, an examination of the benefits of combining various forces to enhance transcutaneous drug delivery and future direction(s) of research within this field will be discussed. The purpose of the present review is to provide both researchers and clinical practitioners with an objective basis for the current use of iontophoresis in rehabilitation medicine.