“Patients suffering from the pain caused by fibromyalgia will have, as of August, a new treatment to relieve the symptoms of the disease. Instead of appealing to analgesics, anti-inflammatories and antidepressants, patients may undergo sessions on a photodynamic therapy device. It simultaneously emits low intensity laser and therapeutic ultrasound.
Light applications are done directly on the palms and last for less than three minutes. In ten sessions, the device also promises to treat other diseases such as arthritis and arthrosis, used in other members of the body.
The device was developed by researchers of the Institute of Physics of São Carlos (IFSC) of the University of São Paulo (USP). The focus of the group was to “attack” fibromyalgia from the palm of the hand rather than the pain points scattered throughout the body.
The idea came after reviewing articles in the area, which suggested that patients diagnosed with the disease had a greater number of neuroreceptors near the blood vessels of the hands.
After three years of development, the researchers were able to attend, in partnership with clinics of São Carlos and the Santa Casa de Misericordia of the city, more than 800 people to prove the effectiveness of the product. Another 1,000 people are waiting in line to be seen and volunteered to participate in the study.
“These people already suffer a lot from the side effects of the drugs used to treat those diseases. So our intention was always to make a non-drug intervention, so as not to compromise the patient’s quality of life. Even more because of the fact that more and more people of active age are being diagnosed with these rheumatologic diseases, “said study leader Professor Vanderlei Salvador Bagnato.
In addition to significant pain reduction, the volunteers who underwent the sessions also reported other improvements in quality of life, such as reduced sensation of fatigue, motivation to perform routine activities and balanced sleep.
“For the treatment of arthritis and arthrosis the device is three times more effective than the currently available treatments, including medicaments. Fibromyalgia is a disease with a more complicated diagnosis and other variables come into this account, such as the psychological issue, “said the professor.
In the coming months, the professor says that companies sponsoring the project will be working to have the device distributed throughout the country. “Including, with professionals training physicians and physiotherapists for the use,” Bagnato said.
“Of course in the market the device will have the costs of production, distribution, taxes. But it will not be such expensive equipment that its acquisition is prohibitive for professionals in the area. The intention is that the device arrives in the clinics, cheap enough, to be able to serve the population, “he said.
Today, in the partner clinics of the university, patients pay the symbolic value of $ 40 per session. “This is an unprecedented combination of ultrasound, whose mechanical waves shake the tissue of the region where it is applied, and the laser that speeds up the metabolism. It is the first time these two techniques are used together. Every new product goes through a series of tests to be released in the market, but the most important is the safety of the study, which proves its effectiveness. That we already have, “concludes the teacher.”