Regional Anesthesia: The breakthrough that could halt the opioid crisis.
The opioid epidemic. It has been declared “one of this century’s most devastating public health disasters,” according to a Stanford-Lancet report published earlier this year. Over 600,000 people in the U.S. and Canada have died of an overdose in the last two decades. As opioid deaths continue to soar with breathtaking speed, the epidemic is projected to claim 1.22 million more lives in the U.S. by 2029, unless immediate action is taken to stop it. The alarm has been sounded—loud and clear—in an urgent appeal for novel solutions to halt a catastrophic crisis that is stealing sons and daughter, fathers and mothers, and tearing apart families and communities.
For Steven Eror, it is a perilous threat to humanity that cannot be ignored, and he’s determined to eradicate it. He’s been on the forefront of the development of innovative technologies to improve patient care and outcomes for over 25 years. It is the singular passion that has driven him as the leader of biopharma, drug delivery, and acute pain management medtech companies—and one that compelled him to create patented medical devices and methods to address risk stratification in lung cancer and non-surgical tubal occlusion for women who are unable to survive pregnancy, both of which have been used for years. Now, he’s turned his full focus to halting the opioid crisis.
In 2020, Steven joined forces with Solo-Dex, Inc., as CEO, to lead in their pursuit to help put an end to the opioid scourge. The answer to the epidemic was staring them in the face: improve regional anesthesia by making it more widely available. In April 2021, they delivered with a revolutionary catheter that allows for continuous nerve block (cPNB) without opioid use or supplementation—placed with ultrasound in just five minutes and eliminating pain for days. The medical community liked the ease of use, and soon the catheter had been used in the treatment of over 7,000 patients and employed by a dozen hospitals and surgical centers across the country and internationally. Solo-Dex is now on track to become the standard of care for managing acute pain before, during, and for days after surgery. “Our catheter can eliminate the need for opioids while improving patient comfort,” Steven explains. “It is gaining acceptance because it is placed using one hand, in a simple, easy, five-minute procedure and stays in place.”
The Solo-Dex Fascile® cPNB Catheter & Regional Anesthesia: Simple, fast, and the breakthrough that could halt the opioid crisis
“General anesthesia, on its own, need not be routine practice for the management of pain, which too often leads to opioid dependency,” Steven explains. “We’ve introduced fast, simple, and reliable regional anesthesia that continuously blocks pain, allowing for postoperative pain management without opioids.”
Designed by and for anesthesiologists, the Solo-Dex Fascile® cPNB catheter overcomes the barriers to the widespread use of regional anesthesia. The catheter can be placed with one hand, in five minutes, using ultra-low doses of medication, and without the need for sterile drapes or gloves. Patients who have used the Fascile® cPNB catheter report higher satisfaction, and a decreased need for follow-up doctor visits for pain and hospitalizations. “Surgeons want high patient satisfaction,” Steven says. “Ours is an elegant, easier, and safer alternative to opioids and general anesthesia.”
We spoke with Steven to learn more about his role, the importance of regional anesthesia in combating the opioid crisis, and how the joint efforts of Solo-Dex and doctors are beginning to stem the tide.
Steve, what’s different about the Fascile® cPNB catheter, and why is it important to combating the opioid crisis?
Our cPNB catheter removes both the guesswork and complexity of placing a continuous nerve block that remains active for days. Local drugs designed to deliver longer duration blocks simply do not provide the coverage to transition the patient to non-opioid pain management.
Let’s talk briefly about your role at Solo-Dex. How are you helping to bring the company to the forefront of pain management?
I focus on what, who, and why. The WHAT deals with the discovery of a powerful idea for an underserved market opportunity, which is sustained by both financing and vision. The WHO is a network of competent, motivated individuals and investors driven to succeed. The WHY is to provide value to all stakeholders and improve the outcome for patients.
You’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback from patients who have used the Fascile® cPNB catheter. Can you share some of this with us?
Patients seem surprised that the pain relief is so absolute, more complete relief than oral pain therapy. A patient has shoulder rotator cuff repair, and six months later, his wife shows up for a block for a knee replacement. A teenager with fracture returns to school the same day. It really is a wonderful thing to see.
Let’s end with a somewhat personal question, Steve. Will you describe the future you’d like to see?
Many agree that general anesthesia is a blunt instrument that is particularly challenging for our senior community and the memory impaired, who recover slowly. A solution that reduces cost, enhances patient satisfaction, and eliminates opioid abuse is a better future.
Steve holds a BA in economics and an MBA in finance and a former adjunct professor of Finance, David Eccles Graduate School of Business at the University of Utah. He is a fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors, a member of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, the Medical Device Manufacturing Association, the Advance Medical Technology Association, the Keirtsu Forum, the Asia Society and The Washington Foreign Law Society, and the Director of Renew America Together Civility Institute. He has received the Rising Star Award from Swedish American Life Science Summit, the Most Innovative Predictive Analytics Award from Corporate Vision, and the 2018 Biotechnology Award from Global Health and Pharma, among many others.
CEO, Solo-Dex, Inc.
Click on the Magazine to Download