IV therapy or IV hydration therapy is a treatment that is used to boost the body’s immunity by replenishing it with essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Similar to drip hydration administered at hospitals, the therapy helps relieve symptoms of dehydration among other conditions, by injecting nutrients directly into the bloodstream through drips.
However, medical experts say that while it is a popular practice in the West, it is not recommended for everyone.
“IV therapy is not required for everyone except for those patients who are severely dehydrated and have certain disorder (where IV therapy is given). This trend is prevalent in Hollywood and Los Angeles. The intention of bringing this therapy to India is not clear and neither for whom is it being given,” said Dr Abhishek Subhash, consultant internal medicine at Bhatia Hospital.
As per healthline.com, the first IV vitamin drips were developed and administered by Dr John Myers in the 1970s. These types of infusions generally take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, and take place within a medical office with a licensed medical professional observing the infusion.
Recently, an advertisement promoting the therapy also drew ire from doctors on social media.
I hereby rest my medical degree before this ad campaign !
What the hell is even this ! pic.twitter.com/Lq5JzQxCuD
— Dr Pooja Tripathi (@Pooja_Tripathii) September 4, 2021
“I hereby rest my medical degree before this ad campaign! What the hell is even this!” she remarked on the advertisement that claims one can “restore and replenish” their hydration levels with “Megaboost IV therapy”. “Supplement your body with vitamins, nutrients, fluids, electrolytes and antioxidants in one infusion,” the ad reads.
Meanwhile, another user also pointed out the exorbitant prices of the listed therapies.
So funny. RL, DNS Costs some 50 odd rupees and even a high grade TPN costs around 3k. Look at their prices.. pic.twitter.com/BZUxgrAdjK
— Eunus ইউনুচ (@SelimEunus) September 4, 2021
Dr Ravi Shekhar Jha, additional director and head of department, pulmonology, Fortis Escorts Hospital Faridabad also cautioned against the practice.
“It is bad practice and can be dangerous, since any IV fluid can cause allergic and anaphylactic reactions, and if the place has no resuscitation measure, it can be life-threatening. If someone can take oral fluids properly, IV hydration is not needed,” he said.