Two years after implant, patients who use Abbott Laboratories' implantable spinal cord stimulators for chronic pain continue to prefer the company's proprietary stimulation pattern over traditional stimulation, new study data show.

The two-year outcome data, revealed at the North American Neuromodulation Society meeting in Las Vegas over the weekend, showed that 81 percent of the 42 patients who were followed through two years with the device preferred BurstDR stimulation mode, compared to 10 percent who preferred traditional "tonic" stimulation. At one year, 68 percent preferred BurstDr stimulation, compared to 24 percent who preferred tonic stimulation, data from the "Sunburst"trial show.

"This latest 24-month data continues to show strong consistent real-world outcomes with Abbott's BurstDR, which is critical when physicians are making decisions for their patients," said West Virginia pain-management physician Dr. Timothy Deer, in a comment provided by Abbott Labs. (Deer received nearly $1.7 million in payments from St. Jude Medical between 2014 and 2016 for speaking engagements, consulting and other services, federal records show.)

Neuromodulation systems like the Proclaim system and its BurstDR stimulation mode were originally sold by Minnesota's St. Jude Medical before the medical device maker was acquired by Abbott Labs a year ago.

The systems includes an implantable pulse generator similar to a pacemaker that delivers electric pulses to the spinal cord to relieve the sensation of pain. Abbott says its BurstDR stimulation waveform works by timing its pulses in a way intended to mimic the natural firing patterns in the brain, which is thought to affect sensory and emotional neural pathways and provide relief from painful sensations and a person's conscious attention to pain.

"BurstDR 24-month data shows that Abbott's waveform is durable and sustainable. Patients can expect it to continue to work for them long term," an Abbott spokeswoman said via email. The latest findings are "consistent with Abbott's vast breadth of clinical evidence and continues to yield strong results, especially in the real world."

Although neuromodulation devices like Abbott's systems with BurstDR require a surgical procedure to implant, such devices are increasingly viewed by some doctors as an viable alternative to oral opioid medications, which carry risks and addiction and abuse.