Skip to Content


Active substance(s): OXYGEN

View full screen / Print PDF » Download PDF ⇩
Medical Oxygen - Patient Information Leaflet
Read all of this leaflet carefully because it contains important information for you. Keep this leaflet, you may need to
read it again. Ask your pharmacist or doctor if you need more information.

In this Leaflet
Page 1

1. What is Medical Oxygen and what it is used for
2. Before you use Medical Oxygen

Page 2

3. How to use Medical Oxygen
4. Possible side effects
5. How to store Medical Oxygen
6. Further information

1. What is Medical Oxygen and what it is used for
Medical Oxygen is a breathed in (inhalation) gas. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless. It is supplied under pressure in a cylinder with a valve
to control the flow of gas. A variety of cylinders sizes are available.
What Medical Oxygen is used for?
Medical Oxygen is used to increase the levels of oxygen in the body’s tissues. It may be used in the following circumstances:

at high concentrations when there is a reduced amount of oxygen being taken into the body through the lungs due to acute or severe
asthma or lung diseases such as pulmonary thrombo-embolism (a blockage of one of the arteries in the lung), pneumonia, fibrosing
alveolitis (inflammation and scarring of the air sacs of the lungs) and pulmonary oedema (a disease affecting the heart).

In low concentrations when there are breathing difficulties due to conditions such as chronic obstructive airways disease
(COAD/COPD) (a collection of lung diseases caused by damage to the lungs)

in the treatment of acute and severe asthma, sleep apnoea (a sleep disorder in which a person has irregular breathing at night and is
excessively sleepy during the day), cluster headaches (attacks of severe, one-sided headaches over several weeks), shock (a
dramatic reduction in blood flow that, if left untreated, can lead to collapse, coma and even death), and in other situations where
localised blood supply is poor

for resuscitation purposes by trained persons, where oxygen supply to the body is reduced due to medical emergency

when the oxygen carrying ability of the blood is reduced such as in carbon monoxide poisoning or severe anaemia (a condition which
occurs when there is a reduced number of red blood cells or haemoglobin concentration)

when gas is trapped in body spaces such as in pneumothorax (air that is trapped next to a lung resulting in collapse of the lung) or air
embolism or other gas disturbances such as decompression sickness (associated with diving)

as a carrier gas or as a diluent for anaesthetic gases or vapours

2. Before you use Medical Oxygen
Interactions with other medicines, medical conditions or diseases
Interactions with other medicines are unlikely when used as directed. However, it is important that you tell your doctor if you are taking, or have
recently taken, any other medicine – even those not prescribed. Unless specially advised by your doctor to do so, do not use Medical Oxygen if:

you are taking or have recently taken amiodarone (used to treat irregular heartbeat) or bleomycin (given as an injection or drip to
treat some types of cancer)

you have a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (a collection of lung diseases caused by damage to the lungs)
Take special care with Medical Oxygen
Care is needed in the handling and use of Medical Oxygen – You must follow your Doctor’s instructions.
Fire Risks:

do not smoke or allow those near you to smoke during treatment with Medical Oxygen; smoking during oxygen treatment has caused
serious injuries and can prove fatal

do not allow naked flames in the area where you are using your Medical Oxygen, since even the smallest spark can cause violent
ignition; electrical equipment capable of sparking (including toys which may produce sparks) must not be used where you are using
your Medical Oxygen
Medical Risks:

if oxygen is being used for a premature or newborn infant, they must receive a carefully monitored dose of oxygen. Giving too much
oxygen can damage their sight

if you have a chronic obstructive airway disease you must receive a carefully monitored dose of oxygen

although Medical Oxygen is necessary for patients with lung damage due to poisons such as paraquat (a type of weedkiller), it may
worsen the lung injury; the dose must be monitored carefully
Taking Alcohol and Other Risks:

a slowing down in your breathing caused by drinking alcohol may be made worse by the use of Medical Oxygen

do not breathe Medical Oxygen at pressures higher than atmospheric pressure
Special Circumstances:
Medical Oxygen can be used if you are pregnant, however, seek medical advice before taking any medicine.
Premature/Newborn Babies
Medical oxygen for premature or newborn babies should only be taken under direction of a qualified medical person.
Medical Oxygen can be used if you are breast-feeding, however, seek medical advice before taking any medicine.
Driving and using machines
Non-continuous use of Medical Oxygen at atmospheric pressure will not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. However, if you are
using oxygen continuously you must be assessed by your doctor.

3. How to use Medical Oxygen
Medical Oxygen will be administered via inhalation and you will be given a facemask, mouthpiece or nasal cannula (prongs) to use, which are
connected to the Medical Oxygen via a suitable medical device. The device must be operated in the manner described by the manufacturer.
The amount of oxygen you will receive is controlled by the type of equipment you are supplied with and the flow rate. You must use the flow rate
prescribed by your doctor and the equipment provided by your supplier.

The flow rate of oxygen used in your treatment will depend on the condition it is being used to treat. Your doctor will tell you how much oxygen
you should use per day and how long your treatment with Medical Oxygen is likely to last.
Other systems used to administer oxygen include face tents, headboxes, cot hoods, a positive pressure mask or a supply to a tracheotomy.
These systems will only be used to give you oxygen under the direct supervision of attendant and suitably trained medical personnel.
Connections for hoses, valves etc. must be kept clean and dry. If necessary clean only with plain water. Do not use solvents. Use clean, lint free
cloths for cleaning and drying off. Do not use oil or grease on any oxygen equipment.
Premature/Newborn Babies
Medical oxygen for premature or newborn babies should only be taken under direction of a qualified medical person.
If you use more Medical Oxygen than you should:
If you may have used more Medical Oxygen than you should, talk to a doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible. However, it is very unlikely
that an overdose will occur.
Using 100% Medical Oxygen continuously for more than a day may produce chest pain and difficulties in breathing. Such a concentration is
likely only to be achieved using specialised (hospital) equipment.
Using Medical Oxygen at pressure higher than atmospheric may lead to convulsions. This is only likely to occur in specialised circumstances
when using decompression units, high altitude mountaineering or diving.
There are no additional side-effects from withdrawal of oxygen.

4. Possible side effects
Like all medicines Medical Oxygen can have side effects. The toxicity of Medical Oxygen depends upon both the pressure (concentration) of
Medical Oxygen that is breathed in and the amount of time that it is used for. The higher the pressure that Medical Oxygen is breathed in at, the
shorter the time that it can be safely used for.
Side-effects may include:

giving too much oxygen in newborn and premature infants can damage their sight and may be associated with other damage (these
conditions have more than one cause and can occur even in the absence of oxygen therapy)

lung damage from prolonged giving too much oxygen - symptoms include shortness of breath, cough and chest discomfort

central nervous system toxicity if Medical Oxygen is breathed in at pressures of twice atmospheric pressure or more as in hyperbaric
oxygen therapy. This would normally only occur in specialist hospital treatment. Symptoms could include nausea, mood changes,
vertigo, twitching, convulsions and loss of consciousness
If you notice any side effects not mentioned in this leaflet please inform your doctor or pharmacist.

5. How to store Medical Oxygen
Check the date given on the batch label attached to the cylinder. Do Not Use Medical Oxygen after the expiry date given on the label
Medical oxygen supplied in cylinders as a gas and dewar flasks as a liquid.
1. Keep Medical Oxygen out of the reach and sight of children.
2. Medical Oxygen must be stored securely in a well-ventilated place, under cover, clean and dry.
3. Medical Oxygen cylinders and liquid oxygen equipment must be stored at temperatures below 50ºC and preferably between 10ºC and 30ºC.
4. Medical Oxygen must be stored separately from other medical gases and non-medical gases and liquids.
5. Oxygen supplied as liquid in Dewar Flasks. Liquid Oxygen equipment must be stored upright.

6. Further information
The name of your medicine is Medical Oxygen, commonly named as Oxygen Inhalation Gas.
The active substance is Oxygen Ph. Eur., Minimum Purity 99.5% v/v.
Contents of the containers
Oxygen supplied as gas in cylinders: These contained compressed gas. The cylinder sizes quoted are the amount of oxygen provided by
the cylinder, when it is used at normal atmospheric pressure.
Homecare: 200, 300, 400, 600 and 2122 litres.
Hospital use: 136, 200, 300, 400, 600 680, 1060, 1360, 2122, 2720, 4080, 4244, 6366, 6392 and 9973 litres.
Oxygen supplied as liquid in Dewar Flasks. The sizes quoted are the amount of oxygen provided when the liquid evaporates to gas.
Liquid Medical Oxygen 25000 and 31000 litres
Cylinder types
The colour scheme for Medical Oxygen cylinders is changing from a black body with white top to an all white cylinder. Your cylinder may be of
either colour scheme.” “ Always read the label”
All medical oxygen cylinders supplied in the United Kingdom have white shoulders. White shoulders are exclusive to medical oxygen.
The cylinder body may be black (old colour scheme) or white (new colour scheme).
Cylinders for home use are fitted with low pressure integral valves for direct use by the patient.
Cylinders supplied to hospitals have gas specific pin index valves and are supplied according to equipment needs.
Further information on handling and using medical oxygen is available from your Air Products engineer, who delivers your oxygen, or your
patient information pack.
The Marketing Authorisation Holder and Manufacturer is:
Air Products PLC, 2 Millennium Gate, Westmere Drive, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 6AP
Oxygen supplied as: Gas in cylinders Marketing Authorisation No. 6183/0011, Liquid in Dewar flasks Marketing Authorisation No. 6183/0001
Medical Oxygen Patient Information Leaflet Version 9 – November 2013

Expand view ⇕

Source: Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided here is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.