FDA Warns About Off-Label Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Posted on August 22, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration has released a new report outlining the fact that many of the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy being claimed by some firms are not supported by the agency.  They worry that, if consumers are to buy into the claims made by purveyors of HBOT therapy, those persons will miss out on other therapies that have been approved.

Typically, hyperbaric chambers are used to help divers who are going through decompression sickness, a usage that the FDA has approved.  By raising the atmospheric pressure in the chamber, the person inside is able to draw oxygen at greater rates.  In addition to decompression sickness, the FDA has approved a dozen more uses for the chambers.

What the FDA does not promote HBOT for is the prevention or treatment of things like AIDS, heart disease, spinal cord injuries, strokes, depression, and other types of conditions.  At this time, the FDA has fielded 27 reports detailing a treatment center that was promoting the benefits of HBOT in a way that went beyond the FDA’s current approved usages.

In addition to the risk of delaying appropriate therapy, persons inside could also be privy to mild joint or sinus pain and more serious threats such as that posed by an embolism.  Paralysis is also possible, as is a fire due to the heightened levels of oxygen inside.

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