HYPERBARIC OXYGEN THERAPY REDUCES OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS
Even in the era of COVID-19, the opioid crisis stands out as one of this century’s most devastating public health disasters, according to a Stanford-Lancet report published Feb. 2, 2022. According to a recent white house report on March 1, 2022, “Drug overdose deaths have reached a historic high, devastating families and communities”.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been widely used in addiction and recovery centers for the vast array of physiological benefits that this procedure can provide patients undergoing recovery programs. One of the reported benefits has been in helping to reduce withdrawal symptoms. This study followed 17 adults being treated with medically supervised methadone dose reduction.
They were also prescribed a short course of 5 daily hyperbaric sessions (90 minute sessions at 2.0 ATA). Withdrawal symptoms were assessed at baseline and daily during the 5-day intervention period. “Opioid withdrawal symptoms were reduced after Day 1 of HBOT by twice as much, on average, compared with the control condition”
Oxygen plays a central role in many pathological and disease states. This has led to a strong emphasis being placed on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to help determine the role of oxygen within these states; moreover, to help determine if extra oxygen can help to improve the pathophysiological processes going on within these disease states.
In this particular study, researchers looked at oxygen’s role in detoxification and its use for withdrawal symptoms in a morphine-dependent rat model. Through the evaluation of withdrawal symptom scores, biochemical indices and neurotransmitters, they found that HBOT was able to cause a significant reduction in both withdrawal symptoms and weight loss.
Along with these benefits many key pathophysiological markers including dopamine and other neurotransmitter changes, also showed significant improvements. Together, these findings led the researchers to conclude that HBOT can effectively alleviate withdrawal symptoms induced by morphine dependence.
Currently, there are many drug and alcohol centres that are using HBOT for a wide variety of uses, one of which is for addiction control. This study gives us a little more insight into their rationale and potential benefits <view study>