With medical equipment becoming increasingly expensive, a device like the reflux appliance might be able to help keep costs down and increase efficiency, researchers at the University of Southern California and the University at Buffalo say.
In the past, reflux appliances have only been developed for medical conditions that require a large volume of medication, such as chronic kidney disease or Parkinson’s disease.
They typically require several injections to operate.
“Our goal is to use reflux to improve the lives of people with chronic disease, particularly those with reflux,” said study co-author Shilpa R. Natarajan, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.
In a clinical study, Nataragan and her colleagues demonstrated the efficacy of the device by injecting patients with a large dose of morphine and then administering a placebo.
In the final stage, the patients were asked to take their medication and then were monitored for reflux.
“When the reflowing dose was high enough, refractive error in the eyes increased dramatically,” she said.
“Our study showed that this is due to the increased excretion of COX-2, which is what causes reflux.”
The researchers were able to replicate the study by injecting two different groups of patients, one who received a placebo, and one who got reflux therapy.
The researchers found that the patients who received reflux medication showed less reflux than the patients receiving placebo, even after controlling for age, sex, height and body mass index.
“Reflux is a common condition that affects millions of people in the United States and around the world,” Natararajan said.
“We believe reflux is an important tool for treating refractive errors and reducing health care costs,” she added.
The research was published online May 25 in the journal ACS Nano.