DANVILLE, Calif., Jan. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Palo Alto Health Sciences (PAHS) and the Veteran's Administration Palo Alto Health Care System have initiated a clinical study to evaluate Freespira® as a treatment option for the millions of Americans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is a serious and devastating condition that can occur following a traumatic event such as combat, an accident, violent personal assault or physical trauma such as an explosion. Annually, close to 8 million adults are diagnosed with PTSD and it is estimated that 7-8% percent of the US population will experience PTSD in their lifetime.
Freespira is an FDA-cleared, non-drug treatment for panic symptoms and panic attacks and is used at home under the supervision of a health care professional. Given that panic attacks and significant anxiety are a common and debilitating symptom of PTSD, it is believed that utilizing Freespira could address overall symptom severity in individuals with PTSD.
Approximately 30% of veterans with time in a war zone experience post-deployment PTSD, with an additional 20-25% reporting PTSD symptoms later. Every year, the VA spends about $3 Billion to treat PTSD and the numbers seeking treatment are increasing, from 190,000 in 2003 to over 500,000 in 2012.
"At the VA, we are always looking for new, effective PTSD treatments that are easy to access and safe for our Veterans. Medications are often limited in their effectiveness for PTSD. This study will determine the effectiveness of this novel digital therapeutic. Freespira is easy to administer, does not require much staff time to train the patient and can be used with other treatments, including medications" said the study's Principal Investigator, Michael Ostacher, MD, MPH, MMSc, Staff Psychiatrist at the VA Palo Alto and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
PTSD is characterized by 3 primary categories of symptoms: 1) Re-experiencing the trauma through distressing flashbacks and/or nightmares, 2) Emotional numbing and avoidance of places, people, and activities that provoke memories of the event, and 3) Increased emotional arousal leading to difficulty sleeping, concentrating, jumpiness or being easily angered. Furthermore, other behavioral health conditions such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and substance abuse frequently occur alongside PTSD. Individuals suffering from PTSD are at increased risk for unemployment, divorce, and family problems or issues with interpersonal relationships.
"Palo Alto Health Sciences provides evidence-based, non-invasive, drug-free solutions for behavioral health conditions," said Debra Reisenthel, CEO of Palo Alto Health Sciences, Inc. "PTSD is a debilitating condition affecting many veterans and we are excited to partner with the Palo Alto VA to evaluate this innovative treatment."
Freespira. Cleared by the FDA in 2013, Freespira® is a non-invasive, drug-free, 4-week at home treatment for panic attacks and panic symptoms that is commercially available throughout the USA. Freespira works by directly targeting the key physiological cause of panic; chronic hyperventilation leading to low exhaled carbon dioxide levels (ETCO2) and resulting in increased susceptibility to panic. Freespira trains the patient to stabilize their respiration pattern and normalize their exhaled carbon dioxide level, changing their blood chemistry over the course of treatment to eliminate or reduce panic attacks and other symptoms. In the United States, over 6.7 million adults annually suffer from Panic Disorder, and panic attacks afflict a total of 27 million adults. In a recent Freespira clinical trial, 85% of patients demonstrated a significant reduction in their panic disorder severity scale (PDSS) scores and 62% were free from panic attacks after the four-week Freespira treatment. In prior clinical trials, 96% of patients reported symptom reduction and 68% of patients remained panic-attack free at 12 months post-treatment.
About Palo Alto Health Sciences, Inc
Palo Alto Health Sciences, Inc. is a privately held Silicon Valley healthcare company focused on evidence-based, non-invasive, drug-free behavioral health solutions. Their first product, Freespira, is an FDA-cleared treatment for individuals suffering from panic disorder and panic, and providers are successfully treating patients with outstanding results, even in the most severe cases. PAHS is currently raising additional funds to further expand applications for Freespira.
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SOURCE Palo Alto Health Sciences