Is it OK to get an IV vitamin infusion?
Providers of this trendy service claim that their concoctions, delivered via an IV line, can cure hangover, athletic exhaustion and even jet lag. Some companies will come to your home, office or hotel room to give infusions, which can include fluid, vitamins, electrolytes and sometimes painkillers and antinausea drugs. It may sound crazy, but as long as an MD is in charge, a full medical history is taken beforehand and registered nurses are administering the drips, it won’t cause harm and may help you feel better—in some cases.
For example, you can speed up your recovery from a bad hangover by getting pumped full of hydrating fluids and anti-inflammatories. And during a bad case of food poisoning, IV fluids along with antinausea medicines can be a help. However, it’s unlikely that infusions will turn back the clock on jet lag, and you should be wary of anyone promising that an IV solution can soothe a chronic issue like anxiety or irritable bowel syndrome.
Also, anytime an IV is placed, there’s some risk of bruising, a painful collection of blood at the spot where the needle is inserted or, more rarely, a serious infection. High doses of anti-inflammatory drugs can lead to tummy troubles like ulcers, so this is not something to rely on regularly. And watch out for those offering megadoses of vitamins; that can be harmful. Finally, it’s pricey: upwards of $200 for a single session, depending on the provider (and your insurance likely won’t cover it).
Next time you’re hungover, try an oral dose of ibuprofen, a big glass of water or a nap. And if you’re frequently using IVs for mornings after, you need to take a look at your drinking.
Health‘s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and co-founder of Tula Skincare.
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