Written by Karen Pilkington and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated June 25, 2017

Ozone therapy

Is it safe?

Adverse events

Much of the research on safety of ozone has focused on its effect in the atmosphere. These large scale studies have revealed that an increase in exposure to ozone is associated with a significant increase in the risk of death from respiratory diseases35.

With regard to ozone used therapeutically, websites offering ozone therapy quote the results of a large observational “study” reportedly conducted by the German Medical Society for Ozone Therapy in 1980 involving 644 therapies and 384,775 patients who had received a total of over 5.5 million treatments. A full report of this cited experience could not be found and therefore valid conclusions are not possible.

A cluster of hepatitis C virus infections associated with ozone-enriched transfusion of autologous blood were reported in Italy36.

Cases have been reported where direct infusion of ozone intravenously has resulted in pulmonary embolism and death2. Consequently, this method of administration has been prohibited in Germany since 1984 and is generally contraindicated2,6. An overall assessment of the safety of ozone concluded that ozone used intravenously is ‘likely unsafe’ and there is insufficient reliable information on the safety of other methods of administration4.

Contraindications

Theoretical contraindications include the following8:
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (favism, acute haemolytic anaemia), hyperthyroidism, leukaemia.
Direct gas injections and intra-arterial injections are contraindicated due to the potential for pulmonary embolism and death.
Insufficient evidence is available on use in pregnancy and lactation.

Interactions

Interactions with other drugs, herbs or therapies have not been reported4.

Citation

Karen Pilkington, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Ozone therapy [online document]. http://www.cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Other-CAM/Ozone-therapy. June 25, 2017.

Document history

Fully updated and revised in June 2017 by Karen Pilkington.
Updated/assessed as up to date by Barbara Wider in September 2013.
Summary first published in October 2012, authored by Karen Pilkington.

References

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  2. Bocci V.A.(2006) Scientific and Medical Aspects of Ozone Therapy. State of the Art. Archives of Medical Research. 37 (4) (pp 425-435).
  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency.(2012). Ground Level Ozone Basic Information. Available at: https://www.epa.gov/ozone-pollution. Accessed 11th April 2017.
  4. Natural Medicines Database: professional version. Ozone therapy monograph. Somerville (MA): Therapeutic Research Faculty. Accessed 11th April 2017.
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  8. German Medical Society for the Use of Ozone in Prevention and Therapy. (Ärztliche Gesellschaft für Ozon-Anwendung in Prävention und Therapie). Guidelines. Accessed 11th April 2017
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