Hidrex vs. Idromed vs. Fischer: Iontophoresis Machine Showdown!

3

Alright.. first things first. The title is a bit overly dramatic here, but the intent is to share my observations from a few months of having trial versions of Hidrex PSP 1000, Idromed 5 PS, Fischer MD-1a and Fischer MD-2. I have posted the picture reviews of individual machines (Idromed 5 PS in pictures, Fischer MD-2 in pictures) – check those out if you are interested in a particular machine. This post is about my observations on the relative differences between these iontophoresis devices.

Hidrex vs. Idromed vs. Fischer: Iontophoresis Machine Showdown!

Methodology

I had these machines for over 8 weeks period, and this is what I did. I realize its not entirely scientific test/control experiment, and I don’t intend to represent it that ways. My initial idea was to essentially test each of these machines in isolation over a period of time and thus comment on what machine worked best. However, I soon realized the logistic problems with that approach – I had the devices for test purpose for a limited time, and to do a real controlled experiment, I had to treat myself with a device for an extended period of time, then take a gap so that the effects of that iontophoresis treatment wears off and then repeat the same process with others. This was logistically challenging and needed me to have access to the machines for a long period. That was not practical for me at this point

So I decided to do the following. I treated myself with all these 4 machines concurrently (not in the same session, but rotating amongst the machines on a once-in-two days frequency). That allowed me to observe each of these machines up and close. Thus, as a result this review is not as much about the quality if treatment (more on that in next section), but more about the “experience”.

 

Treatment Quality

This is the foremost question I get asked all the time – which iontophoresis machine provides the best treatment. And the answer to that is a bit anti-climatic!

Iontophoresis, at the end of the day, is a relatively simple and standard. A mild current passes through the affected body parts – thus irritating the connection between he nerve system and the sweat glands temporarily. So, all the machines have a power source (mains, for these 4 machines), a control unit that manages the settings, the electrode plates the provide the current, and a sort of tray where the tap water is contained.

Iontophoresis machines are relatively matured at this point – that is to say that all the reputed brands do the minimum needed, and there is not much to choose between the machine strictly on the quality of iontophoresis treatment. I definitely prefer mains powered machine over batter powered (for the quality of treatment and lifetime costs perspective), and prefer pulse current device over non-pulsed ones (for the comfort factors).

What makes a machine better than others is not the iontophoresis treatment quality  (if done right), but the chances of you sticking to the iontophoresis treatment over time. It’s the “usability” that defines the ideal machine for you. To me, usability has four components:

  • Appearance: Yes, Iontophoresis treatment is not supposed to be sexy, but its nice to have a good looking machine that doesn’t invite the concerned “are you really sick” look from people around you.
  • Ease of Setup: After the initial novelty wears off, iontophoresis sessions may feel like a drag. A machine that takes 2 minutes to setup has a huge advantage over another that takes 5 minutes
  • Ease of usage: Ability to know what’s going on during your session is reassuring.
  • Portability: May not be a issue for some people. To me, ease of carrying the device with me on my long travels is an importance consideration
  • Comfort Factor: Self explanatory
  • Bells and Whistles: Any extras that make the machine

One consideration that is obviously missing here is the price. If your insurance is paying for the iontophoresis machine, you probably just want to go with a device that your insurance is OK with. In the US, Fischer is the approved manufacturer for iontophoresis machine for several insurance providers  – making the choice easier. If you are paying for yourself, the choice is trickier. Hope the “usability experience” review below helps you make the trade-off choice.

 

Getting to the Details

 

Hidrex PSP 1000

20141008_203729

This is the iontophoresis machine that introduced me to the world of iontophoresis treatment, so I have a soft corner for this one! The US verison of this machine Hidrex DVP 1000 and HIdrex GP 450 are approved by FDA, and thus eligible for insurance reimbursement oo.  Here is a quick summary of what I think about my Hidrex experience

Appearance: 4/5 (small footprint, non-intimidating to look at)

Ease of Setup: 4/5 (all you need to do is attach the current wires)

Ease of Use: 3/5 (confusing display, needs a few inputs before the treatment begins)

Portability: 4/5 (small size, not heavy, comes with a case)

Comfort Factor: 5/5 (pulse current, confortable treatment, auto circuit cut off to avoid shock)

Bells and Whistles: 4/5 (lots of options to adjust the polarity, time, voltage etc.)

Bottom-line: All in all, a solid performer you cannot go wrong with

Idromed 5 PS

Idromed is without doubt the best looking ionto machine on the market. Here is a quick summary of what I think about my Idromed experience

20141008_204808

Appearance: 5/5 (small footprint, sleet control unit)

Ease of Setup: 4/5 (all you need to do is attach the current wires)

Ease of Use: 5/5 (only a single dial to setup the duration – everything else is taken care of automatically)

Portability: 4/5 (small size, not heavy, comes with a case)

Comfort Factor: 5/5 (pulse current, confortable treatment, auto circuit cut off to avoid shock)

Bells and Whistles: 3/5 (nothing much really, but you really don’t need that anyways)

Bottom-line: They’ve got it right in the iPhone age! If looks matter to you, look no further.

 

Fischer MD-1a

Fischer is the grand daddy of iontophoresis machines in USA. Its one of the very few brands approved by the insurance companies. So if you are in US, and your insurance provider will be paying for the iontophoresis machine, your choice is relatively simple.

20141008_204510

Appearance: 3/5 (boxy, looks like a serious medical device)

Ease of Setup: 4/5 (all you need to do is attach the current wires)

Ease of Use: 3/5 (limited display, need to monitor the session time separately s the machine)

Portability: 3/5 (heavy, may not be the best option if portability is a key requirement for you)

Comfort Factor: 3/5 (direct current only, not as comfortable as the pulse current machines)

Bells and Whistles: 3/5 (nothing much really, but you really don’t need that anyways)

Bottom-line: A bit old-school. But we are talking ionto device here, so if your insurance covers it, it’s a good option.

 

Fischer MD-2

Fischer MD-2 is the more expensive machine from R.A. Fischer with pulsed current option.

20141008_204308

Appearance: 3/5 (boxy, looks like a serious medical device)

Ease of Setup: 4/5 (all you need to do is attach the current wires)

Ease of Use: 4/5 (clear display, easy to understand what’s going on)

Portability: 3/5 (heavy, may not be the best option if portability is a key requirement for you)

Comfort Factor: 5/5 (pulse current, anti-surge, super comfortable treatments!)

Bells and Whistles: 5/5 (lots of options available to customize the treatment – you probably won’t use them, but good to have)

Bottom-line: Definitely better than MD-1a, at par with Hidrex and Idromed. Go for this if your insurance is paying for this.

 

So, there it is. Please drop in a comment if you have any other comments/observations

Share.

About Author

I have had hyperhidrosis (palms and feet) since my childhood. I have tried/researched almost every treatment for hyperhidrosis over last decade, and in the process have acquired considerable experience that I hope will help others suffering with hyperhidrosis. I am happy to help you in whatever way I can to manage your excessive sweat problem - see the About page for more details and my contact information. Remember you are not alone, and that hyperhidrosis is entirely manageable with informed treatment. Good luck! PS: I recently published all that I have learnt about Hyperhidrosis in my book No Sweat! I encourage you to check that out as I believe its the best resource out there to understand and manage hyperhidrosis without falling for the miracle cures. Will love to hear your feedback on how to make it better.

3 Comments

  1. While I understand that pulsed current may be more comfortable. Its I’d less effective treatment over its timeframe. Pulsing turns the current/treatment off half the time your doing your actual treatment. Thats still not considering the decrease and increase of the current while it reaches the “displayed current” . Direct currents are more effective as there is no ramping up or down. It is a shorter treatment time frame, delivering faster results. It is a bit more zappy though. But in my experience, solution takes priority over comfort. As hyperhidrosis is already uncomfortable., making me want to do whatever is needed to best treat the condition.

Leave A Reply

Skip to toolbar