What is iontophoresis treatment : benefits, side-effects and dangers

What is iontophoresis treatment, its benefits, side effects and dangers. Iontophoresis is a method of drug delivery inside skin with the help
What is iontophoresis treatment, its benefits, side effects and dangers. Iontophoresis is a method of drug delivery inside skin with the help


Iontophoresis is a method of drug delivery inside skin with the help of charged molecules, using low intensity electric current without invasion.

Iontophoresis is safe, effective and inexpensive. The primary route for ion transport across the skin is through skin pores and hair follicles.

There are two types of Iontophoresis machines available in market that is direct current (DC) and main powered alternating current (AC) devices for therapeutic use.

Mechanism of Iontophoresis


Electromigration is the movement of ions across the skin under the influence of electric field.

Negativity charged drugs goes inside the skin under cathode where positively charged drugs goes inside the skin under anode.

The other mechanism which delivers the drug inside body is electro osmosis.

Indications, uses and benefits of Iontophoresis

  1. Local anaesthesia

With the help of lignocaine or procaine local cutaneous anaesthesia can be achieved by Iontophoresis, it is used for treatment of herpes zoster and triveni neuralgia.

2. In treatment of idiopathic hyperhidrosis

It is a condition characterized by excessive sweating. It commonly occurs in palms, sole and axillae. Study shows that the symptoms improve in 2-4 weeks.

3. Used to apply antibiotics

Iontophoresis is used to apply antibiotics to avascular areas of body.

4. For application of anti inflammatory drugs

With the help of Iontophoresis anti inflammatory drugs can be delivered for treatment of tendinitis and bursitis. Advantage of this method is that is it painless and sterility of treatment.

5. Neurological pain

Used to treat neurologic pain in patients who are suffering from post hepatic neuralgia, pain due to carcinoma or cancer and trigminal neuralgia.

6. Edema relief

A drug named hyaluronidase used to reduce local edema in body parts like post traumatic edema of ankle.

7. Fungal infection

It is used to treat fungal infections in body like tinea pedis and onychomycosis.

Other uses and benefits of are that it is used for scar mobilization, for treatment of herpes labialis, for allergic rhinitis and for treatment of migration.

Contraindications of Iontophoresis

Iontophoresis should not be applied in patients with following.

  1. Pregnant women
  2. Patients who have metal implants in body
  3. Patients with pacemaker
  4. Patients who have epilepsy
  5. Open infected wound

Dangers of Iontophoresis

There are certain dangers while using Iontophoresis technique which may be harmful to patients.

  1. Electric shock

There are chances of shock when the circuit is broken or if patient touches parts of electrodes or when current intensity increases suddenly.

2. Burn

Burn in patients occur if :

  • current density become too high
  • Skin resistance is too low
  • uneven thickness of pads
  • metal electrodes touches skin

3. Some other side effects in body

With anticholinergic drugs body produces some systemic effects i.e. headache, dryness of mouth, abdominal pain, nervousness etc.

4. Irritation of skin

Skin irritates due to chemical which forms under the electrode or due to irritating nature of drug.

Bottom line

This is a simple, short and easy discussion about Iontophoresis for people who don’t know about what is Iontophoresis, its benefits, side effects and dangers. We hope that you understand well about Iontophoresis treatment method.

To know more about electrotherapy and physiotherapy treatment options and methods you can check out website.


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