What is the Freespira Program?
The Freespira Program includes use of the Freespira product, training, weekly follow up and the clinician visits at the start and completion of treatment. Freespira is an FDA-cleared, medication-free treatment for panic disorder and panic symptoms, including panic attacks. Patients who have panic attacks that occur with anxiety disorders such as PTSD, General Anxiety Disorder and Specific Phobias, as well as Depression can be treated. Freespira is authorized by a clinician and the patient completes their sessions at-home over 4 weeks. Freespira is a safe and effective treatment. Freespira can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments such as medications, TMS or psychotherapy as recommended by your doctor.
How does Freespira work?
Freespira includes a tablet with a custom Application (App) and a handheld sensor that measures your breathing rate and the exhaled CO2 levels in each breath. Once trained, you will take Freespira home and do two sessions per day, once in the morning and once at night, for 17 minutes each session (with audio and visual prompts by the App on the tablet). All of your sessions are uploaded automatically to a secure server, using an ID number and not your name. During each session, the sensor samples your breath through a small nasal cannula and sends this data to the tablet. The App provides audio and visual feedback to guide you in adjusting your breathing to normalize your exhaled CO2 level and respiration rate.
Is the Freespira Program covered by insurance?
Since this is a new treatment, Freespira is currently not covered by insurance plans. The cost of the Freespira Program can be paid via a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
Is the Freespira Program an option even if I am on medication?
Yes. Freespira can be used as a standalone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments such as medications, TMS or psychotherapy as recommended by your doctor.
What is a typical course of the Freespira Program?
Freespira sessions are done twice a day for 17-minutes per session for 4 weeks, after which the treatment is complete. Any additional weeks are based on the judgement of your clinician.
Is Freespira uncomfortable?
No, you may feel some shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness in the first few sessions during the first week. No serious adverse events have been reported in clinical trials or commercial use.
Is Freespira safe?
Yes, there have been no serious adverse events reported.
How long does Freespira last?
Clinical studies have demonstrated that approximately 70% of patients with panic disorder who completed a four-week, twice-daily course of treatment were panic-attack free at the end of the treatment. At the end of one year, 79% reported being panic-attack free even though they did not have access to the treatment after the initial one-month Program. The vast majority of patients had significant reduction of symptoms at one year post treatment. Freespira has been shown to be safe, with no serious adverse events in any of the clinical trials or commercial use.
How long has Freespira been around?
Freespira was cleared by the FDA for the treatment of panic disorder, panic attacks and the symptoms of panic in 2013. Interest in treating respiratory dysfunction related to panic started in the 1990’s as evidence began showing that individuals suffering from panic attacks were chronically hyperventilating, not just when they were having a panic attack. This led researchers to study whether correcting chronic hyperventilation by training patients to normalize their exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2) level and respiratory rate (RR) would provide therapeutic value in reducing or eliminating panic attacks in these individuals.
The first clinical studies using the Freespira protocol were conducted in the early 2000’s. A controlled study from Stanford University was published in 2008 and since then subsequent clinical trials and experience in commercial use have further confirmed the therapeutic value for treating panic by normalizing respiratory rate and exhaled CO2 using the Freespira treatment.