In an effort to turn back the hands of time and even treat medical conditions including dementia, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and post-traumatic stress disorder, a growing number of clinics are offering patients infusions of plasma from young donors. In response, the US Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against the use of “young blood”, or rather the plasma from donated blood, stating there is no proven clinical benefit from these plasma infusions.
According to a recent CNN report, donors for young plasma treatments are between the ages of 16 and 25 and the therapy can cost patients in the neighborhood of $8,000 per liter. While the treatments may not cause harm to patients seeking the holy grail of health, it could prevent some from seeking more safe and effective treatments that are available and hold up to the scrutiny of the Investigational Drug (IND) program. Trials that are conducted under the IND are reviewed by the FDA to ensure reasonable patient safety.
The FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. issued a statement February 19, 2019, alerting the public of the significant public health concern clinics that offer infusions of plasma from young donors pose to the public. While plasma, which contains proteins that help blood clot and is valuable in trauma settings, there are risks to administrating plasma as a therapeutic treatment. There is a common risk for an allergic reaction, circulatory overload associated with transfusion as well as the less common risks of acute lung injury and infectious disease transmission. Large volumes of plasma infusions also put patients at risk for respiratory and cardiovascular complications.
The FDA issued the warning to protect patients from being preyed upon by clinics that claim the young donor plasma treatment is a cure or remedy for serious health conditions. Always talk with your physician before using any such product and be sure to fully understand the risks associated with treatment.