So-called ‘party drips’ are ineffective and potentially harmful, said England’s top doctor today, as he criticised companies for peddling fake health remedies to the public.
As the public gets ready for New Year’s Eve, the NHS’ medical director, Professor Stephen Powis, warns the public of the dangers of these drips, and called on companies and celebrities to exercise their duty of care.
Although the intravenous (IV) drips are promoted as offering health benefits or quick-fix hangover cures, there is no evidence to support these claims.
Last year, model Kendall Jenner was hospitalised following a bad reaction to a “Myers cocktail” IV drip, made up of saline solution, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and vitamin C.
In extreme cases, regularly resorting to drips for hangover cures can cause nausea, liver damage, or death due to a toxic overdose of vitamin A.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, said: “At a time when health misinformation is running riot on social media, it is reckless and exploitative of these companies to peddle ineffective and misleading treatments, and those celebrities and influencers who help them do this are letting their fans down.
“People who are healthy do not need IV drips. At best they are an expensive way to fill your bladder – and then flush hundreds of pounds down the toilet – but at worst they can cause significant damage to your health.
“While many of us want to enjoy ourselves at this time of year, it is important to remember that nothing beats eating well and drinking sensibly when it comes to staying well, and a much better way to ‘cure’ a hangover is through drinking plenty of water and getting some fresh air.
“Miracle hangover cures and quick fixes simply don’t exist, and anyone online who says they do is probably out to make a quick buck at your expense.”
Once the preserve of costly celebrity clinics, IV drips are now easily accessible, with some companies delivering them to people’s homes.
Others require customers to go to a high street salon, some of which are located in England’s biggest shopping centres.
While ‘vitamin’ drips are still expensive, some companies offer discounts for multiple purchases or group discounts.
Exposing the liver and kidneys to large quantities of vitamins can place them under significant stress, and the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has prohibited companies from offering the drips without screening liver and kidney function beforehand.
There is always a risk of infection with IV vitamin therapy, as any time an IV line is inserted, it creates a direct path into the bloodstream.
Despite this, the drips are on sale on the high street and promoted by celebrities and influencers online alongside claims to cure hangovers, strengthen the immune system or burn fat.
Other benefits touted range from increased energy and enhanced mood to decreased stress or anxiety.
However, there is no evidence to show that they can deliver on any of these promises, and clinics have already been warned by the official regulatory body, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, that they must clearly advertise drips are intended for non-medicinal purposes only.