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A wearable device claiming to block the pain of opioid withdrawal has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration under an expedited review process for medical devices. However, patient safety advocates note that the device has limited evidence for its effectiveness.

The NSS-2 Bridge is a device that attaches to the ear and transmits small electrical pulses through four cranial nerves. It’s marketed by Indiana-based Innovative Health Solutions, and was cleared to treat chronic and acute pain in 2014. IHS can now market the device as one that reduces symptoms of opioid withdrawal including nausea, anxiety, and aches.


Since 2014, doctors from Alaska to Florida have begun using the device off-label for people addicted to opioids. Patients were being charged between $600 and $1,500 out of pocket to have it included as part of a detox process within treatment programs. Doctors have said the device helps those patients avoid relapsing before starting a treatment regimen of monthly naltrexone shots.

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  • Hi, I was wondering I am 13 weeks pregnant and currently on medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction. I have not used anything but the medication I am on and was wondering if it is possible to and safe to stop taking the medication and use the bridge to help with the withdrawal in order to have a healthy , mon addicted and happy New baby? I have been wanting to get off the medication and was actually on a medical taper when I found out about baby? Please let me know if you have any info or guidance toward somewhere that would. Thank you

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for some good reporting on this device. Most outlets (cough, cough, medscape) basically copy pasted the PR from the company. Thank you for having accuracy about FDA clearence and *not* approval. After this article, I’m going to subscribe to STAT plus. Great job!

  • I am the purchasing agent for a DME provider. I have a physician looking into getting this for her patients. Is the NSS-2 Bridge device covered under patient insurance? What is the cost? Is there a billable code?

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