IV Hydration: Miracle cure or risky business?
Vince Vitrano, Stephanie Graham
Valerie Yost checks in once a week at a local clinic, looking for what she calls instant wellness. "You walk in and you get it and you're in a relaxing chair. It's a pleasure and you walk out and you feel fantastic already."
She's getting IV Hydration treatments. She orders the 'mega-boost' which the clinic says is packed with anti-oxidants and vitamins. If she needs it, there are other formulas that can be whipped up in no time.
Dr. Johnny Parvani works at Reviv Medical Spa. He explains, "It's applicable to many different aliments. For example, if people are suffering from dehydration, sunburns, poor nutrition, extreme activity, or even hangovers."
Those are the claims made by IV centers around the country. Dr. Parvani's hydration clinic was created by a group of ER surgeons who believe it's better to get IV's in a relaxed, luxurious setting, instead of the typical hospital ER, clinic or doctor's office. But critics point out there's no scientific research that these drips help with sunburn, jetlag, or hangovers--and there are risks involved.
Dr. Gail d'Onofrio is chair of the Yale Department of Emergency Medicine. She says, "IV therapy is fraught with many complications that range from as simple as inflammation to the vein, to more complex complications such as an infection that could occur and then very rarely but can occur an air embolus can occur with air going into the needle."
Dr. d'Onofrio adds, "The amount of drug that is available immediately to the system is greater with intravenous, that is true, however it doesn't insure safety or need or value."
If you really need an IV, she believes you should be getting it from your doctor who knows your health history especially when it involves hydration drugs.
"There are lots of risks with IV administration of medications such as Ketorolac Orondansetronm," d'Onofrio explains.
Dr. Johnny Parvani, one of the ER surgeons who started the IV clinic, argues it just offers a change of scenery. "These therapies are extremely safe. It's the exact same thing that we do in a hospital setting."
He also points out, his clinic is certified through the agency of health care administration, the same agency that certifies hospitals and clinics. He recommends if you're visiting an IV clinic, make sure there's certification. He stresses that patients are always evaluated.
"They go through a brief medical screening process, and then they go through a physical exam. We help them come up with what is best suited for their specific need," Dr. Parvani says.
Valerie is convinced her IV treatment is exactly what she needs, and she plans to come back weekly. "When you walk out you're just fresh and ready for what the day brings you."
The hydration clinics offering hangover treatments are the most seriously opposed by those in the medical profession who point out that if someone is hungover and comes to the ER, they are advised to wait out their condition while being watched, and don't always get an IV.