Iontophoresis: principles and applications


  • Eddy Krueger
  • José Luiz Claudino Junior
  • Eduardo Mendonça Scheeren
  • Eduardo Borba Neves
  • Eduardo Mulinari
  • Percy Nohama



Introduction: Iontophoresis is a noninvasive technique used to increase transdermal penetration of substances through the skin layer (epidermis, dermis and hypodermis) in a controlled manner. Technological advance in recent decades have provided reduced cost of equipment needed for implementation, which allowed for the expansion of this technique. Objective: The aim of this paper is to present the state of the art on iontophoresis, ranging from the atomic characteristics of the ion formation to the current applications of the technique. Methods: Were researched papers from databases: IOP publishing, ScienceDirect, Pubmed, Springer, IEEE Xplore, Google Scholar and books with keywords iontophoresis, ions, topical applications between 1967 and 2010. Results: Were selected (number of papers and database) 1 IOP Publishing, 1 from ScienceDirect, Central, 1 from Springer, 2 from PubMed, 11 from IEEE Xplore, 35 from Google Scholar, and 15 books, totaling 66 references and websites with nationally marketed electrotherapy products. Conclusion: Iontophoresis is suitable for applications such as acetic acid (calcific tendinitis and myositis ossificans), calcium chloride and magnesium sulfate (control of musculoskeletal spasms), dexamethasone (inflammation), lidocaine (inflammation of soft tissues), zinc oxide (rheumatoid arthritis). It is also used in cosmetic applications with devices attached to the skin and for eye treatment aimed at specific tissues of the eye, providing a treatment option for various eye diseases, reducing the complications secondary to traditional methods of treatment. The advantages are the significant increase in the release and control of therapeutic agents, including drugs with high molecular weight. The disadvantages of iontophoresis are the complexity of the drug release system and prolonged exposure of the skin to an electrical current.


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How to Cite

Krueger, E., Claudino Junior, J. L., Mendonça Scheeren, E., Borba Neves, E., Mulinari, E., & Nohama, P. (2017). Iontophoresis: principles and applications. Fisioterapia Em Movimento (Physical Therapy in Movement), 27(3).



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