With the opioid epidemic sweeping North America, life sciences companies are increasingly focusing their development efforts on alternative medications and non-pharmacological pain management products. The FDA has just approved Boston Scientific’s Spectra WaveWriter Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS) System designed to treat chronic pain without medication.
Using low electrical pulses which alternate base on amplitude, frequency and pulse width, SCS blocks pain signals in the spinal cord. Boston Scientific’s new device allows physicians and patients to chose between pain relief which comes with a tingling sensation – known as paresthesia-based therapy – or without that feeling (sub-perception therapy).
Patients can even choose to incorporate a combination of these two types of electrical pulses into their pain management to treat more than one area of discomfort. The collection of real-time feedback from patients also allows healthcare professionals to customize therapy to the individual.
“Patients suffering with chronic pain experience pain differently, and pain also evolves over time, sometimes causing a patient to become less responsive as the body becomes accustomed to treatment,” said Dr. Giancarlo Barolat, neurosurgeon, Barolat Neuroscience, Denver, Colorado. “Until now, the medical community has had limited options to offer personalized pain relief therapy to patients. The main advantage of the Spectra WaveWriter System is that it integrates multiple therapies into a single device so that treatment can more easily be tailored to individual needs.”
It’s estimated that over 100 million individuals in the US suffer from chronic pain, making it the number one cause of adult disability in the country. While opioid medications are highly effective at treating chronic pain, they are also highly addictive leading a growing number of Americans to misuse and abuse their prescription painkillers.
“We are introducing industry-leading SCS technology to help provide patients with lasting relief from chronic pain,” said Maulik Nanavaty, president and senior vice president, Neuromodulation, Boston Scientific. “We are committed to investing in research and expanding treatment options for chronic pain by identifying new, non-opioid solutions for the millions of people suffering from this debilitating condition.”