A groundbreaking technology, NSS-2 BRIDGE, is being applied as a drug detox to help citizens of Salt Lake City.
NSS-2 BRIDGE is a percutaneous nerve field stimulator. It can be used to combat the symptoms of opioid withdrawal by applying to the branches of four of the 12 cranial nerves.
Those nerves include the trigeminal nerve, facial motor, oral sensation which includes taste and salivation and the vagus nerve. The trigeminal nerve is responsible for all the major sensors of the face which includes biting and chewing. The vagus nerve controls the swallowing function of the nervous system.
NSS-2 Bridge works specifically for opioid withdrawals and heroin is one of the drugs that the treatment is intended for.
In 2016, the number of heroin deaths went up as 166 Utah residents died from the drug compared to 127 the year before, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Innovative Health Solutions (IHS), established in 2011, is the pioneer behind the NSS-2 Bridge.
Dr. Christopher Brown, the director of research and development at IHS, explained how the process works.
“The device affects the aspects of the brain which processes pain and emotion (the limbic system) and nerves leading into the spinal cord by stimulating cranial nerves found in the ear,” said Brown.
Brown also detailed how long the procedure is from start to finish including the aftermath.
“The effects of the device start in 10 minutes or less and within an hour symptoms are often reduced by over 80 percent,” he said. “The device is to be worn for five days and our studies indicate transition to medically assisted treatment can be accomplished at that time, but doctors are reporting quicker transitions on a case by case basis.”
Brown indicated that usually one device is sufficient for a patient to help overcome their withdrawals when undergoing drug detox. “The exceptions are when a patient takes Methadone or are on long term benzodiazepines,” he said. “In those cases, two devices may be needed.”
NSS-2 BRIDGE is applied behind a patient’s ear and will send electrical compulsions to the brain and the nerve branches. The FDA has approved the product to be used as a drug detox to decrease the symptoms of withdrawals due to opioids.
The product has been featured in over 200 locations in 32 states but this is the first time Utah has applied it for their drug detox.
Odyssey House, a substance abuse provider in Salt Lake City, was given the opportunity to administer this product as a drug detox a few months ago.
Randall Carlisle, the media and community affairs specialist at Odyssey House, detailed what happens when a patient enters their facility and their process in applying the product. “A patient comes in, we have a score to measure what kind of withdrawal effects they’re going through and have a little discussion with them about how the BRIDGE works and then we put it on.”
Carlisle emphasized that the product was only intended to be used for specific drugs.
“They need to be in extreme withdrawals from either opiates or heroin and the device works extremely well in relieving those negative effects that you’re feeling when you’re going through withdrawals but it only works with opioid or heroin,” he added.
Carlisle has watched as people… (Continue Reading)