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Some IVs just shouldn't be given

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

I hate to have to write this, because 96% of you would never consider getting a crazy experimental IV at an IV spa, 3% of you would get a crazy experimental IV at a spa and won't listen to anything I have to say because you're dead set on it, and really only 1% of you would be on the fence and consider it, but aren't dead set on it.

So, my math is that I'm probably talking directly to two people. That's okay. If I can talk some sense into those two people it's worth my time, and worth wasting the rest of y'all's time too.

Almost every day we get a call from someone who has moved to a town where we have a location, or who has spent a bunch of time on Google, or who knows somebody who gets one, and they ask about whether or not we do some crazy IV they've seen advertised somewhere else. The calls we get almost daily are requests about chelation therapy, ketamine drips, hydrogen peroxide, and weight loss.

Really? Let's talk about those.

Let's start with the easy one: Weight Loss IVs.

They're lying. If there were something someone could put in an IV that would help you lose weight there wouldn't be any overweight people. All of those ads have an asterisk, and at the bottom of the page it says "with proper diet and exercise". Well hell, if I had a proper diet and I exercised I wouldn't need a weight loss IV. So, don't waste your money on that crap. I lost 55 pounds without doing much of anything, and if you're interested I'll tell you how.

I've told you before... trust me... I WANT to be rich. If there were an IV that caused weight loss, I'd BE rich. It's BS.

The second one we get asked about is ketamine.

Ketamine IVs are given in IV spas to treat depression and anxiety, and they are EXPENSIVE. Real money maker for an IV spa. I think you pay like (this is no joke) a dollar or two a dose, and you charge as much as $1,500 a treatment. Momma...

If you've got that kind of money to spend, and you want it, let me tell you a few things about ketamine, if you think you're depressed enough to need it:

  1. It's an anesthetic. Yes, that kind of anesthetic. The crap they give you to put you to sleep for surgery.

  2. It has to be given by an anesthesiologist or a CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist). This means that your average RN with 25 years experience, who I'd trust with my life and have, isn't even allowed to give it. You know that's serious business.

  3. They have to have a CRASH CART in the room to legally give it to you. It's that likely that you'll crap out that the law says they have to have a "quick, save that person" cart IN THE ROOM, complete with a little AED to restart your heart when it stops beating.

  4. It causes memory loss. They KNOW it causes memory loss, and I guess that's part of the plan. Makes me think of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Great movie. Basically, just fry your brain to make you forget what's bad in your life.

  5. Dumbs down your emotional state to the point that you just don't give a damn about whatever it is that's bothering you. Great. What else does it make you not give a damn about?

It's basically a zombie treatment. They're trying to turn you into a flatlined zombie so you aren't depressed... That's about all I need to say about that. Here's something though. If you're so depressed, or have so much anxiety, that you think you need to go put your life in the hands of someone who is giving a surgical anesthetic in an IV to induce memory loss, call us. For real. We aren't psychiatrists or psychologists, and we're as screwed up as you or more so, but we'll buy you a beer or a coffee and sit down with you and try to help you figure out how and where to get help. Don't go get anesthetized at an IV spa. Just come see us. We'll sit and talk to you. We'll help you find some help that doesn't involve being "IV zombie-ized" next to a crash cart in a strip mall.

Hydrogen Peroxide. Oh mama... by the way, not to get political, but former President Trump mentioned H2O2 IVs and everyone thought he was talking about bleach or bottled hydrogen peroxide being infused to "clean" your system. Not the case. He'd been told, as millions of other people have been told, that Baylor University did some pretty exhaustive studies that show that there's a way to infuse tiny amounts of hydrogen peroxide safely, and it has a pretty devastating effect on anaerobic bacteria and viruses. So there's that, in case you were wondering.

So back to the hydrogen peroxide IVs. Not to get too technical, but what essentially happens is that the H2O2 gets broken down into water (H2O) and a free oxygen molecule. That free oxygen molecule can really kick some backside in your system. It's good for more things than I can list but really has shown some effectiveness against viruses.

There are two main problems with it:

  1. It ain't approved for use in The United States. So, anyone who gives it to you is giving the finger to the FDA. I'm not some great big fan of the FDA, but if they say "don't do this", because we like to keep our licenses, we don't do it.

  2. It hasn't been done widely enough, or studied widely enough, to know how to rock-solid do it safely. There are LOTS and LOTS of possible complications, up to and including DEATH, from hydrogen peroxide IVs. If you were EVER going to do it, you'd want to do it at a doctor's office in Germany, where they've been doing it for years. Going to an IV "bar" or "spa" where some nurse once went to Germany and trained on it for three days and then came back to Kansas to teach the other nurses how to do it, that's just dumb.

Do us a favor, stay away from that crap. There are plenty of other ways to accomplish your goals that don't involve going to see someone who's doing something the FDA has told them not to do, IN YOUR VEINS. They have to get the flow rate exactly right, they have to get the concentration exactly right, they have to have everything perfect, just to give hydrogen peroxide a chance to work, and if they don't do everything spot on, you're a corpse.

Just so you don't get confused or wonder, some places call this "ozone therapy". Whatever they call it, don't do it.

So for our last one, chelation therapy, I'm going to give you a quick list:

  1. Hospital-based ER

  2. Free-standing ER

  3. Urgent care center

  4. IV spa

  5. Your kitchen

Those are the places to receive medical treatments, in order of the best, safest place, to the worst. Why would you decide to get a serious procedure like chelation, at the 4th place on the list? Might as well just wing it in your den. There ARE a few decent reasons to get chelation therapy (like lead poisoning, arsenic exposure, or mercury poisoning), but if you're suffering from them you NEED TO BE AT A HOSPITAL.

So chelation is (very simply) the process of binding a substance (usually DMSA) to heavy metals in your body and blood stream, so they can be passed. It's effective for lead poisoning, as a counter-agent for arsenic exposure, and to a lesser extent to remove mercury from your system. It has also been shown to work well for people with haemochromatosis (excess iron). NOTHING ELSE has ever been proven in a clinical study.

In the 50s there were claims that chelation could cure atherosclerosis. In the 80s people started using it because it was claimed that autism was caused by heavy metals in house paint and foods, and that chelation could "cure autism". None of that is proven. I'd go as far as to call it all BS. None of the claims of decalcifying your arteries, or curing cancer, or reversing the effects of autism, or anything else we've heard about it are backed up by a good, solid, clinical trial we'd trust. All the issues you have aren't linked to lead or mercury poisoning. It's as simple as that.

More importantly, this stuff is bloody hell on your liver. It's also bad for your kidneys. People DIE from this stuff. Like lots of people. Kids too. Parents have taken their kids to get this therapy to "cure" their autism, and they've died. Makes me ill.

Anyway, I'm tired of talking about it because it makes me sick that so many people have died from it. Stay the hell away from this quack-therapy stuff unless YOUR primary care provider (or a specialist to whom they have referred you) has told you that you need it, and admitted you to a hospital for it.

So the point to this entire rant of a blog post is that someone, somewhere is going to call us in the next few days (or hours) and ask if we do "__________ IV therapy", and the answer is going to be "no because it's not safe". They're going to believe what they read on "" or some crap like that, disbelieve us, and go get the IV somewhere else. Please don't be that person. If you are one of our patients, call us asking for one of these nutty IVs, and we don't do a good enough job of talking you out of it so you go off to some quack shop that will do anything for a buck, and you die from it, I'm going to be sick about it for the rest of my life.

Glad I got that off my chest. Hopefully we kept somebody from making a bad decision, didn't waste too much of your time, and don't end up getting sued by some quack whose business starts to suffer. ;-)

"No no no" says the nurse.

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