Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin drips

Posted 27 July 2019

From the British Medical Journal

Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin drips

Abi Rimmer The BMJ
BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4596 (Published 08 July 2019)

Vitamin what?

Vitamin drips. In the latest trend to sweep the “wellness” market, some people are now choosing to get their vitamin hit through “intravenous (IV) drip therapy.” Vitamin injections or “shots” are also available.

Why?

The companies offering these drips say that they have a whole host of benefits, ranging from basic hydration to anti-ageing. IV Boost UK, for example, offers “skin brightening IV therapy,” which it says “lightens and brightens for clear glowing skin”—for £180 (€201; $225).1 And REVIV says its IV infusion therapies “target a variety of wellness needs.”2

Are they a problem?

Some people have expressed concern over the claims these companies are making. On 2 July a company called Get A Drip withdrew its £250 IV “fertility drip” from sale after criticism from charities that it could exploit vulnerable women.3 “There is no evidence that an IV drip of any combination of vitamins can improve a woman’s fertility,” said the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.4

Will this cause the drips to dry out?

Get a Drip has pledged to carry out an “in-depth review.” Its founder Richard Chambers insisted that IV nutrition therapy was “an effective, medically supported therapy to help the body reach optimal nutrition.”

Are doctors involved?

Get a Drip employs GMC registered doctors, as does IV Boost UK and other companies that offer these products.5

So is the profession hooked up?

No. The GP and evidence based medicine champion Margaret McCartney, who has investigated vitamin drips, says that she found little evidence they provided any more benefits that what a healthy lifestyle would.7 And BMA council member Tom Dolphin was among those to criticise Get a Drip on Twitter, describing vitamin drips as “pseudoscientific ‘wellness’ profiteering.”89

References

1. IV Boost UK. IV drips and vitamin drip cocktails treatments. https://ivboost.uk/iv-drips.

2. REVIV. https://revivme.com.

3. Lee J. Get A Drip ‘fertility’ IV that costs £250 withdrawn from sale. BBC News. 2 July 2019. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-48839108.

4. British Pregnancy Advisory Service. BPAS comment on so-called “fertility” drip. 2 July 2019. www.bpas.org/about-our-charity/press-office/press-releases/bpas-comment-on-so-called-fertility-drip.

5. Get A Drip. Frequently asked questions. www.getadrip.co.uk/faqs.

6. Effect Doctors. www.effectdoctors.com.

7. McCartney M. How doctors are peddling £150 “pointless” vitamin drips. Daily Mail. www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6926109/How-doctors-peddling-150-pointless-vitamin-drips.html.

8. Dolphin T. 30 June 2019. twitter.com/thomasdolphin/status/1145349512254369792.

9. Dolphin T. 30 June 2019. twitter.com/thomasdolphin/status/1145349519955152898.

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