You’ve explored the basics of IV hydration therapy, and you must admit, your curiosity is piqued. However, before deciding on the treatment, you must know: Is IV hydration therapy safe?
IV hydration therapy is largely considered safe and can rehydrate you if you’re hungover, spent from athletic endeavors, or severely dehydrated. However, IV therapy does carry some risks, so you must choose a reputable service to administer the IV.
Like any medical treatment, IV hydration therapy has some risks you must consider. This guide will help you do just that!
Is IV Hydration Therapy Safe? All the Stats
Before undergoing any medical treatment for the first time, it’s normal and natural to have concerns about its safety and efficacy. To put your mind at ease, here are some stats about IV hydration therapy.
IV Therapy Is Incredibly Common
The IV hydration infusion market is only growing, with Atlas Health Medical Group projecting the market to reach $10.99 billion by 2026.
In 2019, up to 83 percent of patients in the United States already received an IV treatment or therapy, although not exclusively hydration therapy.
IV Hydration Therapy Promises Faster Absorption Rates
In a 2023 report on the supplements industry, Zippia found that 77 percent of US residents take at least one supplement.
When you take supplements orally, did you know the absorption rate is much slower than receiving them intravenously?
Why is that? Your digestive system must process the supplement, which slows down the metabolization rate. The supplement also loses nutrients as it ventures through the intestines and the stomach.
You cut out digestion and metabolization processes when you receive nutrients and minerals directly into the bloodstream, which is done through IV vitamin therapy with fluids. This retains more nutrients and delivers them to you faster.
IV Hydration Therapy Is a Short Treatment
Time-consuming treatments? Not here! The standard IV hydration therapy session is 45 to 60 minutes. It’s typically an outpatient procedure so you can receive treatment and then return home or work.
Some IV hydration therapy is even mobile, so you receive treatment in the comfort of your own home, office, hotel or wherever you may be.
What Treatments Do IV Hydration Companies Provide?
Every company may differ in their specific treatments and medications, so it’s best to consult directly with them before booking your appointment.
Typically, the following treatments will be offered.
- Myers Cocktail: One of the most common treatments is the Myer’s Cocktail. It provides increased energy levels, enhanced mood and vitality, sharper memory, and recovery from dehydration—a go-to for chronic fatigue.
- Migraine Headaches: This treatment offers relief from migraines. If done routinely, it has been shown to decrease the intensity and frequency of headaches.
- Immune Boost: Boosts your immune system with this IV drip and helps prevent future illnesses.
- Hydration +: If you only want to fight dehydration, then this is the drip for you. You’ll leave feeling hydrated and refreshed.
- Hangover Recovery: This cocktail of nutrients and fluid will help your body cure hangover symptoms and get you feeling yourself again.
- Athletic Performance/Recovery: This treatment is designed with the athlete in mind. Stay hydrated while promoting performance, reducing recovery time, and preventing muscle cramps.
Typical Vitamins and Medicine Offered
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Amino Acids
- Toradol (NSAIDS)
- Zofran (anti-nausea)
The Potential Risks of IV Hydration Therapy
Let’s look at the other side of the coin, including IV hydration therapy’s risks. As we made clear in the intro, no medical treatment is without its risks, although some carry more severe risks than others.
IV hydration therapy is largely safe, and health concerns usually come only from not following safety protocols and policies.
In the next section, we’ll discuss finding a reputable service to administer IV hydration therapy, so please read that if you’re considering this treatment!
Let’s get into some of the risks of IV hydration therapy.
We’d call bruising more of a side effect than a risk, but it can happen, so we included it here anyway.
The bruising will occur around the injection site. If you bruise when getting blood taken, you’ll likely bruise during IV hydration therapy, as you probably bruise easily.
You shouldn’t have to worry about bruising if you don’t bruise easily. The licensed nurses and doctors who administer the therapy know how to insert an IV, as they do it regularly. They’ll be gentle with you.
Even if you end up with a bruise from IV hydration therapy, it does not indicate the medical staff’s handling.
Vein Inflammation or Infection
In rare instances, some recipients of IV hydration therapy have reported vein inflammation, also known as phlebitis. Although phlebitis is associated with blood clots, a clot doesn’t always have to occur for a patient to receive a diagnosis of phlebitis.
The symptoms include pain, warmth, and redness where you received the IV. You can typically treat phlebitis at home with compression stockings, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, and warm compresses.
If you need to see a doctor, they will likely recommend a cold pack or warm pack.
A vein infection manifests with many of the same symptoms as phlebitis, but you may also notice swelling and develop a fever. Some patients are asymptomatic.
The treatments don’t differ all that much, either. You can use over-the-counter NSAIDs to treat the swelling and pain.
Therapy May Interrupt Some Prescription Medications
IV hydration therapy doesn’t only send water and electrolytes to the bloodstream but medications, nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants.
If you’re administered anti-nausea or anti-inflammatory medications as part of your treatment, these meds can interrupt the efficacy of other medicines you’re taking.
The Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition reported in 2014 that if you’re on prescription medications with lidocaine or ketorolac, some IV hydration therapy medications could cause severe, even life-threatening reactions, although only in some people.
If you’re on any medications, you should always be upfront with the doctor or nurse administering IV hydration therapy. They may suggest amending what’s in your IV drip to prevent such a reaction.
You could also have an allergic reaction to the medications used in IV hydration therapy, especially anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medications.
The greatest risk of allergies is anaphylaxis, a life-threatening reaction to an allergen that requires immediate medical care.
Once again, being upfront about your allergies and the medications you take can prevent these kinds of reactions.
One round of IV hydration therapy will not overhydrate you, as a doctor or nurse will carefully administer the treatment. However, if you receive hydration therapy too frequently, you risk fluid overload.
Before your iv hydration administration, the nurse or doctor should listen to your lung sounds as well as take your vital signs. This includes, pulse oxygenation, heart rate, blood pressure, respirations and lung sounds.
Vitamin or Mineral Toxicity
The quick introduction of vitamins into the bloodstream via IV hydration therapy can sometimes lead to vitamin toxicity.
Receiving too much potassium could impact your heart, leading to arrhythmias that could prove fatal in some people. An excess of vitamin C causes the body to make oxalates. Kidney stones are comprised of kidney oxalates, so your rate of kidney stones is higher if you have too much vitamin C in your system.
If you have renal disease or a history of kidney stones, ask how much vitamin C you’ll receive during IV hydration therapy.
High levels of vitamin A can lead to vision changes, so contact your doctor immediately if your vision changes after IV hydration therapy.
If you receive an excess of thiamin, you could feel dizzy and have low blood pressure. Anaphylaxis may also result.
How to Choose a Reputable IV Hydration Therapy Administrator
As promised, let’s discuss how to choose a safe, efficient IV hydration therapy service.
Do Your Research
As we discussed earlier, IV hydration therapy has become increasingly popular, and there are many options to choose from. Like you wouldn’t choose a doctor’s office or hospital randomly, you should spend time researching the IV hydration therapy services near you.
Read the service’s history, dig into the reviews, and feel free to pick up the phone or email any questions you have before scheduling an appointment.
You’re the one who will undergo the treatment, so you must feel good about where you’re going and who you’re receiving it from.
Only Receive an IV from Registered Nurses or Doctors
Speaking of who’s administering the treatment, the only ones providing IV hydration therapy should be registered nurses and doctors. If the medical staff cannot or will not show their credentials, you shouldn’t receive IV hydration therapy from them.
Remember, most safety risks associated with IV hydration therapy are due to medical staff failing to follow the proper protocols. Choosing reputable nurse and doctors may help eliminate any of these issues.
Ask Questions About the IV Treatments, Including Vitamin Levels
Before the treatment begins, you’re still allowed to ask questions, so go ahead and do so if you must.
For instance, you might ask about the IV insertion process, if clean medical equipment is used, and what goes into your hydration treatment. You should know the exact medications and the levels of vitamins and minerals to confirm they’re safe.
Ensure Staff Oversees the Treatment
Once you receive the IV, the doctor or nurse administering the treatment shouldn’t walk away and leave you unattended. A medical professional must be there to confirm you’re receiving just the correct levels of IV-administered medications or minerals.
We suggest asking about this before your treatment and not proceeding if someone won’t be there to oversee the treatment.
Divulge Your Medical History
Any reputable IV hydration company should ask you to fill out a medical history form. If it is your first appointment with the company, you should also receive a short consultation with a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. This will be done in person or via a Telehealth visit.
The medical doctor or nurse practitioner will evaluate you and your submitted medical history form and will then indicate which treatments, if any, are right for you.
Does IV Hydration Therapy Hurt?
Lastly, we wanted to touch on whether IV hydration therapy is painful.
IV hydration therapy should feel no different if you’ve ever received an IV in a doctor’s office or hospital.
You may experience some initial pain when the registered nurse or doctor inserts a needle. When the clear plastic tube goes in, that can also be a little painful.
However, you shouldn’t feel any further pain after that, and the initial pain should fast subside. You may notice a cold feeling as the liquid medication, water, electrolytes, nutrients, and minerals travel through your veins, but even that sensation fades after a few minutes.
When the registered nurse or doctor goes to remove the IV, that should be a seamless and painless experience.
IV hydration therapy is largely regarded as safe. The potential risks, including an influx of minerals and vitamins, allergic reactions, vein infections, and overhydration, are caused by doctors or nurses failing to follow proper protocols.
Do your part to ensure a safe, effective treatment. Research the IV hydration therapy service, only choose registered nurses and medical doctors, divulge your medical history, and ask questions about what kind of service you’ll receive and what will be in the IV drip.