How Safe Are Vitamin IV Drips, Really?

Another day, another story about a celebrity using a vitamin IV drip, a saline mixture that's administered right into your veins through a needle. Before the Oscars after-party this Sunday, Kendall Jenner was reportedly hospitalised because she experienced complications from a vitamin IV drip, according to People. Jenner was treated at Cedars-Sinai hospital, and was good to go shortly after.
Now, we don't know exactly what happened to Kenny, but it's not that surprising that she had a reaction to an IV. While lots of celebs turn to vitamin IV drips to quickly manage cold symptoms or nurse hangovers, most healthy people do not need to use an IV to receive vitamins and stay hydrated — it's just not necessary. And because it involves an IV, it means there's lots of room for complications to occur.
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Often, when people get a "vitamin IV drip," they're actually receiving a mixture of saline solution, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, called a Myers' cocktail, through their veins. In a clinical setting, this cocktail is used to treat everything from migraines to fibromyalgia. But the treatment became mainstream because people realised they could use it to treat less-serious things, like upper respiratory infections, aka the common cold.
If this is a treatment that doctors use frequently, what could go wrong? For starters, there are lots of boutique "IV clinics" — like the Hangover Club or Revive Me — that offer IV mixtures that aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. So, unless your physician prescribed a specific mixture, you can't know whether the fluid going directly into your bloodstream is safe.
In some cases, the fluid in the IV can react with drugs and medications that you're on. For this reason, Ehsan Ali, MD, a primary care physician and "concierge doctor" in Beverly Hills, who provides vitamin IV drips, says he always makes sure clients have clearance from their general practitioner before getting one. And he says his IV treatments are always administered by a medical doctor. "This should always be the case!" he says.
Unfortunately, some places don't follow these same standards. Technically, to administer an IV, you must receive special training, but the standards vary state to state. In most cases, you will receive your IV from a registered nurse or medical doctor. But the person administering a vitamin IV may not have a detailed understanding of your medical history, so they won't know how your body will respond to the treatment. Individuals with certain medical conditions, like heart disease, shouldn't receive an IV vitamin treatment because it can put added strain on your heart. Or, if you're someone with congestive heart failure or dialysis, the IV could bruise your skin, Dr. Ali says.
The IV insertion itself can also lead to complications, including infection, bruising, bleeding, and in extreme cases, blood clots and inflammation of the veins, Dr. Ali says. "The blood is supposed to form a small clot following the treatment, but patients who are prone to more dangerous clots should discuss the treatment with their doctor before moving forward," he says.
All of these potential side effects considered, the risks of vitamin IVs seem to outweigh the pros. At the end of the day, you don't need a pricey IV to deliver your vitamins and minerals — your mouth can do that just fine. While we can always count on the Kardashian sisters to be up on the latest wellness trends, this latest one is probably worth skipping.
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