In Iontophoresis, the hands or feet are placed in plastic pans containing tap water. An electric current is passed through the water for about 20 minutes. Initially, treatments are required every 2 to 3 days. After 2-3 weeks, the interval between treatments can be lengthened to every week or two. Patients operate equipment themselves. If skin irritation develops, this can usually be corrected by moisturizers, a reduction in treatment current, or a prescribed cortisone cream. Some patients find iontophoresis time consuming. Anticholinergic drugs, such as 1-2mgms Avert, can be added to the water to increase effectiveness. These drugs are absorbed and can produce side effects as described under glycopyrrolate pills.
There are a variety of machines, but the literature (and our experience) indicates excellent results with the Fischer MD-1a galvanic unit:-- www.rafischer.com. The machine is available in Canada from West Woodbridge Surgical, telephone 416-248-2040 or 1-800-561-3766, The price is over $1000. We are not aware of insurance companies paying for machines. The battery operated machines are not as powerful as the Fischer machine. Iontophoresis is not approved in pregnancy or in persons with pacemakers or metal implants. Some physiotherapy facilities (hard to find) offer trial iontophoresis treatments for a fee.