FDA Bans Electrical Stimulation Devices After Identifying Substantial Risk

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What Are ESDs?

According to the FDA ESD ban, ESDs are electronic devices that administer electrical shocks through electrodes attached to the skin of individuals. The purpose of these shocks is marketed as a method of immediately interrupting self-injurious or aggressive behavior. Alternatively, these shocks have also been used in attempts to condition the individuals to stop engaging in undesirable behavior.

  • Burns
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Tissue damage
  • Worsening of underlying symptoms

Why Is the FDA ESD Ban Being Implemented?

As the FDA ESD ban announcement describes, the evidence espousing the effectiveness of ESD therapy for treating self-harm and aggression is weak. Equally important to note is that evidence of the comparative benefits of alternative treatments is very strong.

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