No one likes having their boozy adventures end in a miserable hangover. So it’s no surprise that products that claim to make the morning after easier have surged in popularity. Over the last few years, intravenous vitamin therapy has become increasingly popular among healthy people as an option to ease hangovers.
All you supposedly need is around $100, an hour and a vein.
Today many specialty clinics and spas known as “drip bars” offer IV therapy that claims to ease the nausea and headaches that come with a hangover. Some IV therapies are advertised as immunity boosters, migraine cures, stress relievers and overall “wellness” boosters. You can even book an appointment to have someone swing by your home to inject you with a saline solution infused with a cocktail of vitamins.
Early adopters of this needle-friendly trend include Jane Fonda and Chris Brown, but if you’re skeptical of this celebrity-backed health trend, there’s good reason.
Healthy skepticism can save you money
Dr. Genevieve Brauning, a family medicine physician at Novant Health SouthPark Family Physicians, is skeptical. “There’s very little research that has been conducted on the safety or benefits of these types of IV hydration methods,” she said.
In fact, Brauning said that many of these treatments simply just rehydrate people more than anything. And she pointed out that studies on rehydration methods have shown that for most adults getting fluids and electrolytes by drinking water and liquids is just as effective as getting injected with them —especially when you’re able to keep these fluids down.
Not only is there little scientific evidence available to substantiate proponents’ claims of IV therapy’s health benefits, there’s also no endorsement from the Food and Drug Administration that these types of services can treat, cure or prevent any disease.
IV therapy comes with risks
Like any invasive procedure, getting hooked up with IV therapy can come with side effects. “Even something as common and simple as starting an IV can lead to injection site reactions, skin infections or superficial blood vessel swelling,” Brauning said.
Getting too many vitamins can also be toxic — leading to unwanted symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, swelling or rashes, she said.
It could be tempting to try the procedure after hearing from others on how “great” it can make you feel, but it’s also important to remember that even a small risk of infection isn’t worth taking a treatment that doesn’t have scientifically proven benefits.
A good alternative
The bottom line is this: IV fluids are generally best for those who are sick or cannot keep liquids down. There’s really not enough research that shows healthy adults benefit from IV therapy.
Instead, drink more water or electrolyte drinks if you feel dehydrated or hungover, Brauning said.
If a true cure exists for hangovers, we’d know about it.