Ionsys Logo This month, a needle-free method of relieving acute pain after an operation has been launched in German, Britain and Ireland markets. Known as the fentanyl iontophoretic transdermal system (IONSYS), it aims to replace needles, pumps, catheters or intravenous pump stands and greatly reduces the risk of needle-stick injuries and infection.

It also has the potential to make the administration of post- operative pain management a less time-consuming task for healthcare professionals and less intrusive for patients, according to Janssen- Cilag International NV, the company marketing the new product.

Sized like a credit card, it is secured to a patient’s upper outer arm or chest and uses a nearly imperceptible low-intensity electrical field to rapidly transport doses of fentanyl, a pain-killer, through the skin and into the bloodstream.

And because it automatically shuts down after the maximum number of doses has been administered, it reduces the potential for abuse.

The European Commission granted marketing authorization for IONSYS after clinical trials showed that it is as effective as intravenous PCA morphine for the management of acute post-operative pain.

The company aims to market the product in other European countries in the months to come.