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Needle-Free Device OK'd for Local Pain Relief

FDA Approves SonoPrep's Use With Topical Lidocaine

From the WebMD Archives

Aug. 19, 2004 -- The FDA has approved the use of a needle-free, handheld device for administering lidocaine, a local anesthetic.

The device's maker, Sontra Medical Corp., says the FDA approved SonoPrep on Aug. 18. Sontra says its product works faster than current methods.

Using needles to deliver local pain relief with lidocaine can take up to an hour. The new device anesthetizes skin in five minutes, according to Sontra.

The handheld device uses ultrasound waves in place of needles. The device is applied to the skin for about 15 seconds and allows the lidocaine to penetrate the skin faster, resulting in quicker pain relief.

Sontra expects to launch the product this September. According to news reports, it will cost $2,000.

In a news release, Sontra CEO Thomas Davison, PhD, says he expects the device will be used "to help avoid painful interventions, particularly in chronically ill children and adults who must endure repeated needle sticks and IV therapy."

Davison says he hopes the device will one day have wider use, delivering medicine without needles.

Sontra is based in Franklin, Mass.