Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Approval Status

No Clearance by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

No Approval by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS)

! Read the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) position paper on off-label hyperbaric treatment:
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Don't Be Misled, published 22 August 2013.

About Clearance and Approval


Definition and Causes

Arthritis is a painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints. A chronic pain disorder afflicting some 19 million adult Americans, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the US. The most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), but arthritis comprises more than 100 other inflammatory diseases and conditions, including fibromyalgia, gout, and lupus.

The definitive causes of arthritis are unknown. In osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, the cartilage, surrounding tissue, and bone may be destroyed by physical wear, infection, or aging. In rheumatoid arthritis, a faulty immune response may cause inflammation that erodes the joint linings called synovial membranes. There is no cure for arthritis. Many people with arthritis successfully manage or improve their quality of life with physical therapy, exercise, weight control, and medications.

Evidence Index

FDA cleared, widely reimbursed
Strong body of evidence
Repeatedly favorable results
Early or mixed results
Unfavorable or no evidence
Strong evidence against HBOT

Treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and other chronic pain disorders. Some physicians may prescribe HBOT off-label as an adjunct or alternative to drug treatments and other common arthritis therapies.

HyperbaricLink Commentary

Hyperbaric oxygen may provide temporary symptom relief for some people with some forms of arthritis. Compared to other popular and effective treatment options, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may never be cost-effective or practical for the daily management of such a lifelong chronic disease. Still, if further research demonstrates the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a drug-free regimen might offer a welcome alternative for some physicians and patients to consider.

Patient Resources

HyperbaricLink recommends the following websites for anyone seeking authoritative information, patient advocacy, and community support for arthritis.

Arthritis Foundation

A national not-for-profit organization and the world’s largest private contributor to arthritis research since 1948, the Arthritis Foundation helps people take control of arthritis through public health education, public policy and legislation, and evidence-based programs.

Patients Like Me

An open web forum where patients can share and learn from real-world health outcomes data, PatientsLikeMe is a for-profit company that shares data with nonprofit research and pharmaceutical industry partners. Its fibromyalgia community numbers 14,000. Other arthritis-related communities are active and growing.

Wikipedia: Arthritis

The arthritis entry in Wikipedia provides good basic information about the different types of arthritis.

Clinical Resources

Start with the following resources to explore current research activities and the peer-reviewed medical literature on hyperbaric oxygen therapy for arthritis.

 Use the search buttons below to go directly to research on hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
US National Institutes of Health keeps the official list of human clinical trials currently enrolling, in progress, and recently completed. One may reasonably question the size and legitimacy of any study not listed here.


Google Scholar

A specialized Google search engine, Google Scholar indexes scholarly articles, patents, and legal opinions and journals. Google Scholar may generate excessive search results, but entries provide easy access to full-text journal articles.

Search Google Scholar


HBOEvidence uses computerized tools to appraise the key randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the hyperbaric medical literature. One may reasonably question the overall strength of HBOT evidence for any disease or condition not covered here.

Search HBOEvidence
National Library of Medicine, US National Institutes of Health

PubMed keeps the official list of scientific papers published in reputable peer-reviewed medical journals. One may reasonably question the importance and legitimacy of any study not listed here.



News About Arthritis and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Related Terms

  • ankylosing spondylitis
  • carpal tunnel syndrome (CPS)
  • causalgia
  • chronic pain
  • complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
  • fibromyalgia
  • gout
  • inflammatory diseases
  • juvenile arthritis
  • lupus
  • Lyme disease
  • osteoarthritis (OA)
  • osteonecrosis
  • osteoporosis
  • reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • scleroderma
  • tendinitis


Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arthritis. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
Page Data
Updated: 23 Jul 2015 06:15 PM
Created: 06 Nov 2009 12:00 AM
By: About the authors »