Abbott (NYSE:ABT) touted data from a 5,400 patient study evaluating daily opioid use following spinal cord stimulation therapy in patients with chronic pain. The researchers found that average daily opioid use declined or remained steady for patients with a spinal cord stimulation system compared to patient use of opioids prior to the implant.
Patients who had the spinal cord stim implant removed experienced greater opioid use over time, the company reported. In a spinal cord stimulation system, a device similar to a pacemaker is implanted in the patient’s spinal cord and delivers low levels of electrical energy to nerve fibers. The energy disrupts pain signals as they travel to the brain, reducing the sensation of pain.
The Abbott-sponsored study demonstrated that 1 year after implantation, 93% of patients who continued spinal cord stimulation therapy had lower average daily morphine-equivalent doses than patients who had their implant removed.
“Given the epidemic of opioid addiction and abuse, these findings are important and confirm that spinal cord stimulation therapy can offer strong benefits for patients struggling with chronic pain,” Dr. Ashwini Sharan, president of the North American Neuromodulation Society, said in prepared remarks. “Based on these results, we concluded it may be possible to improve outcomes by offering our patients spinal cord stimulation earlier, before opioid dependence and addiction can occur.”
Last week, Abbott launched its Proclaim dorsal root ganglion neurostimulation system in Europe for patients suffering from chronic neuropathic pain.
The Abbott Park, Il.-based company’s system targets sensory nerves packed within the dorsal root ganglion to directly target the area of the body where pain occurs and provide stronger pain relief compared to traditional spinal cord stimulation therapy.
Abbott claims it is the only company to offer a neurostim device designed for DRG therapy. Patients with chronic neuropathic pain can access the company’s Proclaim platform and an iPod touch mobile digital device patient controller that features wireless communication via Bluetooth.