Research says Quell zaps pain

Quell, a wearable pain relief technology device, is displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show last year.
Quell, a wearable pain relief technology device, is displayed at the Consumer Electronics Show last year.

NeuroMetrix Inc. of Waltham says there’s new research backing the effectiveness of the company’s Quell electronic pain relief device.

Founded in 1996, NeuroMetrix makes devices that treat pain with low-voltage electricity pulsed into the patient’s central nervous system. The company has sold hundreds of these devices, but Quell, which went on sale this year for $249, is the first version that can be purchased by consumers without a prescription.

Researchers kept tabs on 88 patients who used the Quell device. Most had suffered from chronic pain for anywhere from one to 10 years, due to such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, sciatica, and fibromyalgia. After 60 days, 81 percent of the users reported less pain, and 67 percent said they were able to cut back on the use of pain management drugs.

The study will be presented next month at PAINWeek, a medical conference on pain management in Las Vegas.

Hiawatha Bray is a technology reporter for the Boston Globe. E-mail him at h_bray@globe.com.
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