Is Anodyne Therapy The Answer For Peripheral Neuropathy?
Peripheral neuropathy is prevalent among people with diabetes and has a strong correlation to the majority of diabetic foot ulcers and diabetes-related amputations. One potential option for helping these patients is Anodyne Therapy, a non-invasive treatment that has garnered praise in clinical studies and anecdotal kudos from podiatrists and their patients.
The device, which received FDA approval in 1994, reduces pain and increases circulation, according to the company Anodyne Therapy. How does it work? The Anodyne Therapy System uses monochromatic infrared energy (MIRE) to release nitric oxide from the patient’s red blood cells. The company says this improves nerve function and is important for making new blood vessels and healing wounds. As the company notes, “low levels of nitric oxide are common in people with diabetes and are a major factor in the poor circulation, loss of sensation, chronic falls, foot ulcers and pain of diabetic peripheral neuropathy.”
The manufacturer also emphasizes that Anodyne Therapy has been clinically proven to increase local microcirculation and reduce pain. It says there are several clinical studies that demonstrate significant clinical outcomes including restoration of protective sensation in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, pain reduction, increased nerve conduction and faster healing of diabetic ulcers and other chronic wounds. Podiatrists also tout the product’s benefits.
What Podiatrists Are Saying
“We actually had very good results,” says Timothy Shea, DPM, a Certified Wound Care Specialist at the John Muir Wound Care Center in Walnut Creek, Calif. “So far, it seems to be a good, proven, acceptable modality which is useful for patients.”
Dr. Shea, an Adjunct Associate Professor at the California College of Podiatric Medicine, has used the Anodyne Therapy System as an adjunct to wound care. One of his patients had peripheral neuropathy that doctors could not diagnose and described his pain level ranging from a 7 or 8 to a 10 with 10 being the most painful. If he undergoes treatment at home, the patient said his pain level dropped to 2 or 3, according to Dr. Shea.
Anodyne Therapy says performing three treatments per week for 30 to 45 minutes in your office and having the patient follow up with a weekly maintenance program at home will yield the best clinical results.
Stephen Barrett, DPM, says some patients who are not surgical candidates for nerve decompression can get relief from the system.
“We’ve had some patients that have had extraordinary results,” says Dr. Barrett, a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.“We’ve also had some patients that have had mixed results. Overall, it’s been a very beneficial thing.”
Dr. Barrett says he also has initial neurosensory documentation with the pressure specified sensory device, which has shown significant improvement in two-point static discrimination after 12 treatments.
Glen Robison, DPM, has used Anodyne Therapy on patients with diabetic neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, ulceration and other problems. After therapy, most patients have said they can feel their feet. He says 90 percent or more of diabetics who use the product find their neuropathic numbness reversed.
“The success was overwhelming,” says Dr. Robison. “I have a steady flow of diabetics and non-diabetics with neuropathy who have greatly benefited.”
The company offers two systems, the Anodyne Model 480 Professional System and the Anodyne Model 120 Home System. The only contraindications are for pregnancy and active malignancy, according to the company.
As far as drawbacks go, Dr. Barrett notes some reimbursement problems with the device and Dr. Robison says insurance companies do not cover it. However, the company notes the device recently received a specific Medicare HCPCS code of E0221 that should facilitate reimbursement from Medicare and other insurance carriers.