Investigational, Experimental or "Off-Label" Use of HBOT
Internationally, however, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has a much larger list of applications, some of which are documented by stronger scientific evidence than exists for the accepted indications. The indications not on "accepted" indications list are considered off-label uses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
The off-label use of any FDA approved medical device or drug is allowed by the FDA for a licensed physician and generates the basis for much of the clinical medical research in the United States. An example of off-label uses of drugs includes use of Neurontin for any medical disease except seizures. Currently, Neurontin is used in traumatic brain injury, stroke, peripheral neuropathy, and a host of neurological disorders. Similarly, antidepressants are approved for use in depression, however, they form the mainstay of therapy for migraine headaches and chronic pain control, both of which are considered off-label uses. The off-label use of a drug is commonly know as the clinical practice of medicine.
HBOT for C/P and Stroke
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for neurological applications has a long and richly researched history. For the most complete review of this topic, please see the 3rd edition of the K.K. Jain's hyperbaric medicine textbook. Unfortunately, the diversity of this topic which spans hundreds of pages is not adequately discussed in such a small section here. Published research articles exist along the entire spectrum of acute and chronic neurological disease from stroke to cerebral palsy. Again, please see the extensive bibliography and the chapters in the K.K Jain, The Text Book of Hyperbaric Oxygen Medicine.
Dr Paul Harch MD
International Hyperbaric Medical Association
New Orleans, LA
Reprinted with Permission