Physicians split on benefits, safety of IV hydration treatments

March 13, 2013 4:58:24 PM PDT
If you are feeling run down or have jet lag, it always feels great to have an energy boost. Some people are trying to get that boost with IV hydration. But you may want to think twice before trying it because critics warn the risks may outweigh the benefits.

"You walk in and you get it and you're in a relaxing chair," IV clinic patient Valerie Yost said. "It's a pleasure and you walk out and you feel fantastic already."

Yost is getting IV hydration treatments. She orders the "mega-boost," which the clinic says is packed with antioxidants and vitamins. And there are other formulas that can be whipped up in no time.

"It's applicable to many different aliments. For example, if people are suffering from dehydration, sunburns, poor nutrition, extreme activity or even hangovers," said Dr. Johnny Parvani with Reviv Medical Spa.

Those are the claims made by IV centers around the country. This hydration clinic was created by a group of ER surgeons who believe it's better to get IVs in a relaxed, luxurious setting instead of the typical hospital ER, clinic or doctor's office.

"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," said Gail D'Onofrio, chair of the Yale Department of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. D'Ofronio is strongly against these on-the-spot IVs. If you really need an IV, she believes you should get it from your doctor.

"There is lots of risks with IV administration of medications such as Ketorolac, Ondansetron," she said.

"These therapies are extremely safe. It's the exact same thing that we do in a hospital setting," Dr. Parvani said.

He says the clinic is certified and patients are evaluated.

"They go through a brief medical screening process and then they go through a physical exam," Dr. Parvani said.

A number of doctors are very concerned about the hydration clinics. They say not everyone who has a hangover and comes to the ER needs IV hydration.

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