Use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to treat multiple sclerosis patients aims to relieve symptoms and to prevent attacks and
disabilities. Some clinicians use HBOT off-label to manage the side effects of drugs prescribed for MS and claim
hyperbaric oxygen also reduces pain, modulates the immune system, increases energy, alleviates sleep dysfunction,
and reduces cognitive impairment in patients with MS.
Evidence in the medical literature does not support claims supporting the use of HBOT in treating multiple sclerosis.
A 2010 systematic review of published results from the most significant studies conducted up to that time concluded
there is “…no clinically significant benefit from the administration of HBO(2)T.”
[ CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, 2010 ]
Since that time there have been no published studies of HBOT treatment of multiple sclerosis and, as of mid-2015,
none are planned despite multiple sclerosis being a very active area of medical research with hundreds of studes currently underway.
Early research may have raised false hopes
for sufferers of this disease and their caregivers. In some cases these hopes were undoubtedly strengthened by practitioners
making overly optimistic claims about the benefits of HBOT in treating neurologic conditions.
Unfortunately, while the evidence may indicate some patients experience temporary palliative relief that could be associated
with an analgesic effect of HBOT, there is no lasting benefit of any kind when using HBOT to treat multiple sclerosis.
Because HBOT is costly and can produce side-effects and complications, patients should consider those risks when considering
a treatment intended to provide temporary relief from pain and other symptoms.
Those seeking treatment for multiple sclerosis should beware of practitioners making bold claims for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Advertising a specific medical benefit from a treatment that has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for
that purpose is a violation of US federal law. Never pay to participate in a clinical trial.