FDA Floats Electric Stimulation Device Ban

Electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) used for self-injurious or aggressive behavior may create public health risk

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Officials at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are calling for a ban of electric stimulation devices used to treat aggressive or self-harming behavior.

The proposed ban is due to concern that these devices pose a public health risk, according to an FDA press release. Currently, only one institution — the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center — is known to use these devices in the United States.

Electrical stimulation devices (ESDs) deliver electric shocks to patients via electrodes placed on the body in an effort to curb self-harming or aggressive behavior. But, according to the FDA, ESDs may actually have negative effects, such as worsening of these behaviors, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain, burns and tissue damage, among others.

FDA officials stated that behavioral therapy and medication can provide effective alternatives to ESDs for patients exhibiting self-harming or aggressive behavior.

Before proposing a ban of ESDs, the FDA reviewed available evidence on their effectiveness and effects.

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Review Date: 
April 25, 2016
Last Updated:
April 25, 2016