|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Iontophoresis is a way to actively deliver drugs through the skin. For it to be effective the drug should be ionizable. This is a specific form of transdermal delivery wherein drugs are directly transported to the blood stream without having to go through the stomach intestines and liver. The ions in this case are nothing but the charged drug molecules.
All iontophoresis does is push the drug through the skin, which is a formidable barrier to permeation of compounds, and carry it to the bloodstream - so everything is similar to an injection except iontophoresis (and all transdermal delivery modes) is painless because there is no pricking involved.
To answer your question in short - iotonphoresis does not drive ions into target cells; its a painless way to get drugs into blood circulation.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Medicine.