Be careful with intravenous vitamin therapy, Quebec health care orders say

Influencers promote the treatment for things like fatigue, lack of energy, and even hangovers, even though there is no scientific evidence to support it.

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Four groups of health professionals in Quebec are warning both their members and the population to be wary of the growing trend of intravenous vitamin therapy promoted by influencers on social media.

Administering vitamins through the bloodstream is typically done in extremely specific cases, for patients who have been evaluated by doctors and are deemed to need the treatment, the orders say. But influential people in Quebec and beyond have been promoting intravenous vitamin therapy as a sort of panacea treatment to help with things like fatigue, lack of energy and even hangovers, even though there is no scientific evidence to support it. .

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“So far, scientific evidence does not show that it is useful to give a vitamin to someone who does not have a vitamin deficiency,” said Joëlle Emond, president of the Ordre des diététistes-nutritionnistes du Québec. “But we do know there is a risk, and the risk could be as serious as it is lethal.”

The risk associated with intravenous vitamin therapy is infection, since the liquid is injected directly into the veins, unlike oral vitamins. Since there is no evidence to support the treatment’s effectiveness, Emond says it’s simply not worth the risk.

Luc Mathieu, president of the Ordre des infirmières et infirmiers du Québec, said he knows of approximately 20 private clinics in the Montreal area that provide this service.

“There’s a trend, especially in the middle of winter,” he said. “Sometimes when February comes, it may be the shortest month, but some people feel that it is long because they feel depressed, tired and need some energy, so they think this approach will work.”

According to some of their Instagram profiles, clinics seem to offer different options depending on the patient’s symptoms.

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A screenshot of an Instagram account promoting intravenous vitamin therapy.

Emond said he has noticed that in the United States, intravenous vitamin therapy is administered in places such as hotel rooms, casinos and shopping malls.

A few years ago, the influential models Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber I have treatments in an episode of the reality show The Kardashians.

“We’re on our way to see some friends and we’re going to get some nice IV bags,” Jenner said. “It’s what we consider a really fun day.”

In an effort to be proactive as the trend grows in the province, the orders of Emond and Mathieu joined the orders of pharmacists and physicians to issue a joint letter reminding their members of their ethical obligations as health professionals, which They include making sure the treatments they administer are supported. for evidence.

“The four orders are making a harsh clinical judgment by saying that all the accusations – the whole miraculous side of these therapies – is not based on science,” said Jean-François Desgagné, president of the Ordre des pharmaciens du Québec. “In the best of cases, people will have spent several tens or hundreds of dollars on a treatment that, in the end, will bring them little or nothing. And in the worst case, people (put their health at risk) with risks of contagion.”

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An Instagram post promoting intravenous vitamin therapy.  It shows a white room with white chairs and two drip bags fixed to the wall behind them.

On Tuesday, a South Shore clinic that had been offering the treatments announced it was suspending them in response to the notice issued by the orders.

“We have always favored a rigorously safe and meticulously applied protocol,” iCRYO Brossard said in a statement posted on Instagram.

The clinic appears to have removed all posts showing the treatment from its page.

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For Desgagné, one of the biggest concerns around the therapy is that it is not clear where the product comes from. In the notice, the orders note that vitamin and mineral infusions do not have drug identification numbers issued by Health Canada, and that it is up to the professional administering the product to obtain information about the manufacturing process, content and quality.

“Who prepares the product? Where do you purchase these products? Desgagne said. “In my pharmacy I can track all the items, the acquisition… without problem. “I’m not sure we can do as much with these products that are injected into patients.”

Emond, Mathieu and Desgagné expressed concern about other so-called health trends sweeping social media today, many of which do not involve consultations with health professionals.

“It is a trend that is present and I can tell you that it makes us very uncomfortable and that we are following it very closely,” Desgagné said.

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