Making Sense of MS Research

Summaries of independent,
high-quality research about multiple sclerosis treatments

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for MS

This is a summary of the research about the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) written in plain language for people with MS and their family members. It is based on a report (known as a systematic review) that was produced by The Cochrane Collaboration.

In February 2011, the authors of the report searched for all the randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on this topic and combined the results. They found nine trials, including 504 participants. As at August 2012, there were no new RCTs conducted in this area.

In August 2009, the authors of the report searched for all the randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on this topic and combined the results.  They aimed to provide an overall picture of whether interferons are effective in PPMS.  They found two trials, including 123 participants.  As at August 2012, there were no new RCTs conducted in this area.

Review question

What is the effect of HBOT in the treatment of multiple sclerosis?

The short answer

This review found that HBOT is not effective in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. There is consistent evidence that HBOT has little to no effect on improving disability or stopping disability from getting worse in people with MS. There are very few major side-effects associated with HBOT. Minor side-effects include visual disturbance and inner ear trauma.

Do these results look different from what you’ve read elsewhere? See the FAQ page for an explanation. You can also discuss the results with your local MS Australia office.