FDA Designates First Virtual Reality Device for Chronic Pain (Pain News Network):
AppliedVR, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality company, has announced that its EaseVRx headset has received Breakthrough Device Designation from the Food and Drug Administration for treating fibromyalgia and chronic intractable low back pain.
EaseVRx is the first virtual reality (VR) device to get a Breakthrough Designation from the FDA for treating a chronic pain condition. The designation speeds up the development and review of new medical devices that treat life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating diseases or conditions. It could also speed up insurance coverage of VR therapy for chronic pain … “Virtual reality is a promising skills-based behavioral medicine that has been shown to have high patient engagement and satisfaction,” said Beth Darnall, PhD, AppliedVR’s chief science advisor. “However, chronic pain patients to date have had very limited access to it, so we’re excited to continue working with the FDA to develop our platform and get it into the market faster.”
Self-Administered Skills-Based Virtual Reality Intervention for Chronic Pain: Randomized Controlled Pilot Study (JMIR Formative Research). From the abstract:
- Background: Patients with chronic pain often have limited access to comprehensive care that includes behavioral pain management strategies. Virtual reality (VR) is an immersive technology and emerging digital behavioral pain therapy with analgesic efficacy for acute pain. We found no scientific literature on skills-based VR behavioral programs for chronic pain populations.
- Objective: The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility of a self-administered VR program that included content and skills informed by evidence-based behavioral treatment for chronic pain. The secondary aim is to determine the preliminary efficacy of the VR program in terms of average pain intensity and pain-related interference with activity, stress, mood, and sleep, and its impact on pain-related cognition and self-efficacy. The tertiary aim was to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) and compare the VR treatment with an audio-only treatment. This comparison isolated the immersive effects of the VR program, thereby informing potential mechanisms of effect.
- Conclusions: High engagement and satisfaction combined with low levels of adverse effects support the feasibility and acceptability of at-home skills-based VR for chronic pain. A significant reduction in pain outcomes over the course of the 21-day treatment both within the VR group and compared with an audio-only version suggests that VR has the potential to provide enhanced treatment and greater improvement across a range of pain outcomes. These findings provide a foundation for future research on VR behavioral interventions for chronic pain.
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