HBOT has been used adjunctively to enhance the effectiveness of antibiotic and antifungal therapies with good results. In AIDS, HBOT also helps reduce hepatic toxicity related to the many medications the patient may be taking.
Procrit is taken for anemia that may be directly related to HIV or due to an opportunistic infection such as mycobacterium avium complex (MAC). HBOT is used in acute blood loss anemia to increase hematocrit and meet the oxygen needs of the body. Procrit is prescribed to stimulate red blood cell production and is used with HBOT to increase and sustain red blood cell (rbc) production without adverse reactions. Patients receiving HBOT require less Procrit than normally prescribed. This reduces costs as Procrit is a particularly expensive drug.
Neupogen is prescribed for low white blood cell count and is another very expensive drug. It stimulates the production of lymphocytes. In patients taking gancyclovir for cytomegalovirus, Neupogen may also be prescribed. Less Neupogen is required with HBOT and the dosage needs to be adjusted accordingly.
Gamma Globulin (Gammagard, Venoglobulin) is a blood derivative used to promote platelet production and antibody response to bacterial and viral infections in immune-compromised patients. It has been used with HBOT with no adverse effects.
HBOT has been used with all the prophylactic medications for pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) with no adverse effects. Pentamidine, dapsone, and Bactrim are well tolerated with HBOT. Eighty percent of patients with HIV cannot tolerate Bactrim, but HBOT can be used to treat the severe dermatologic and systemic reactions to Bactrim. HBOT reduces rash, fever, and edema associated with these reactions.
Malignancies such as lymphoma, cervical cancer, and sarcomas often occur with AIDS. HBOT is used adjunctively with chemotherapy and radiation over several decades with marked success. In AIDS, HBOT is helpful in reducing the adverse effects of these therapies and stimulating immune response. Using HBOT, nausea and alopecia are lessened and weight maintenance has been noted.
HBOT has synergistic effects with medications used to treat opportunistic infections. It helps to reduce the side effects of these medications and reduces the therapeutic dosage. It also helps treat any of the herpes viruses, candidiasis, and other infections. HBOT may be given at pressures of 1.5-1.8 ATA with an antiepileptic to reduce the possibility of seizure.
MAC is treated with antitubercular medications and a synergistic effect has been noted with HBOT.
HBOT is helpful in managing anaphylaxis* both in slowing the onset and reducing the incidence. It works well with Benadryl and solumedrol.
*also called anaphylactic shock, an overproduction of histamine associated with an extreme, often deadly, allergic reaction.
Hepatic and gastrointestinal complications are frequently associated with antiretroviral therapies. Adjunctive HBOT is used to treat the microcirculatory damage caused by HIV and herpes viruses and to reduce hepatic damage. It may also slow the onset of acquired hemolytic anemia, allowing the patient to remain on these treatments for longer periods of time with fewer side effects.