IONTOPHORESIS is the "... process wherein substances in solution are applied to the surface of the body and introduced into the tissues by the use of electrical current."1 Iontophoresis has been used to treat middle ear disorders since 1918.2
In 1955, Rius and Martinez Visca3 and Schenk4 independently advocated the use of iontophoresis for the treatment of diseases of the inner ear. Ríus treated Meniere's disease and "vascular abnormalities" of the inner ear by transtympanic iontophoresis of tolazoline (Priscoline). In all cases,3,5 he noted relief of vertigo and tinnitus and improvement of hearing. Schenk4 reported symptomatic improvement of patients with Meniere's disease after aural iontophoresis with carbamylcholine chloride (Doryl)
However, he raised the question, Does any medication actually reach the inner ear or is the effect due to electric current alone?
Clinical observations have shown that local anesthetics placed in the human tympanic cavity
STECKER RH, CODY DTR. Iontophoresis of 22NA and 131I Into the Inner Ear. Arch Otolaryngol. 1966;83(3):213–217. doi:10.1001/archotol.1966.00760020215006
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