Is IV therapy hangover heaven or a whole lot of nothing?


“Oh my God, why did I willingly agree to get an IV poked into my vein? What if my body reacts poorly to the fluids? Am I going to feel totally drugged up?” These are my thoughts as the nurse probes my arms looking for a decently sized vein.

Once the initial piercing through my skin is over — and yes, I refuse to look at it — the pain vanishes, and the cold fluid of a Meyers Cocktail starts flowing in through my left arm. The nurse, Carrie Rangel, turns on the TV and offers me a pillow and blanket while I'm reclining in the chair. Prior to my IV therapy appointment at Simple, a wellness facility in Lawrence, I was expecting more of a dentist’s office feel to the whole thing, with sharp metal tools laid out or the bland, white walls of a hospital. To my surprise, the environment is kind and relaxing. Aside from the slow drip of the IV bag connected to my arm, the room looks like a spacious lounging area. I begin to relax and my stress fades away.       

Dr. Samantha Durland, the physician who founded Simple, believes that IV therapy could help students handle stress by giving them more energy, replenishing their body and helping them relax.

“Especially if they’re stressed out and they’re studying or they’re sick—this helps you just rebound faster and not feel so sick all the time,” Dr. Durland says.

Even though IV fluids have longe been common in hospitals, an outpatient setting for the lay individual has started to become more prevalent within the last decade, Dr. Durland says. Her facility is the only place in Lawrence that offers the service in a casual environment. She says patients can expect to pay an average of $75 to $150 for the treatment, depending on what they’re getting.

She recommends the Meyers Cocktail for students, a common multivitamin infusion that costs $125. Thankfully, Dr. Durland allowed me to try it for free. The bag contains nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin C. 

“Anytime that you give back to your body things that it can use to restore itself, it helps you feel better, sleep better and get sick less,” Dr. Durland says.

Aside from destressing, Dr. Durland says this infusion provides a variety of functions. It can be used for GI issues, chronic and acute illnesses, hangovers, or just a boost of energy. Rangel tells me she personally uses IV therapy when she’s traveling because she tends to feel stressed and fatigued overall.

But Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a professor of medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, doesn’t believe that IV therapy is the best way to feel better, and says it could likely just be a placebo effect. He says IV treatments should be used with only specific indications.

“If someone can be treated without IV fluids, there is no good reason to use them,” Dr. Goldfarb says. The careless use of IV therapy, he adds, could lead to infection or even lethality for patients with some forms of heart or kidney diseases.

Dr. Durland says that her clinic makes the rules according to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts and operates with good and safe practices. She specifically says they do not give IV therapy to anyone with heart or kidney issues, and that the risk of infection comes with any IV procedure.

She is also confident in the effectiveness of IV treatments. By administering vitamins and nutrients directly in the bloodstream, Dr. Durland says the body does not have to put energy towards absorbing them. The therapy allows individuals to have 100 percent bioavailability and immediate blood concentrations that would not be achieved orally or intramuscularly.    

Nousette Jefferson, a college graduate from Wichita, received IV therapy when she was in Miami for her bachelorette party. She says she had been drinking alcohol all day with minimal food and was dehydrated from being in the ocean. They went clubbing later that night, and received free bottle service with a VIP table. Jefferson blacked out and couldn’t remember anything that happened until her friends took her back to the hotel.

“I was like ‘I got to snap out of it.’ I tried to drink something, and everything would just come out. Like any fluids,” Jefferson says. Her friends pooled together $250 so she could get IV therapy from a concierge service. After two people arrived at her hotel to administer the therapy, she sobered up and felt better quickly. Jefferson says that University students would benefit from IV therapy since Lawrence is a college town, but also says students could be turned off by the expensive costs.

Lily He says she would be reluctant to spend a lot of money to restore her energy, especially when Pedialyte or Gatorade could do the trick — even if not as fast. He, a first-year pharmacy student from Topeka, is stressed often from her schoolwork. It's come to the point at which she’s stressed even when she’s not doing anything.

But He wouldn’t try IV therapy. “If I were to do something like that, it would be the last resort,” He says. “Hopefully, I’m not stressed or feeling unhealthy to the point where I would need IV therapy.”

On the other hand, Lam Hoang, a junior from Wichita, says he would be willing to try IV therapy to improve his wellbeing. “If it helps, then I’m down for it. As long as a professional doctor does it for me,” Hoang says. At Simple, IV therapy is administered only by Dr. Durland or nurses, and the fluids are safe so there are little risks of infection.   

The Meyers Cocktail bag takes about 30 minutes to completely empty into my veins. I don't feel any different, except my left arm is cold and I can taste vitamins in my mouth. The IV therapy doesn't work instantly, but I begin to notice a positive change in my body and behavior over the next 24 hours. It's gradual, but the effects are there.

Before my IV therapy session, one of my friends joked that I was going to turn into “a superhuman alien.” That would’ve been cool, but I just felt like a stronger version of myself. I was more energized, less stressed, and I got a lot of work done as well as a good night’s rest. That usually isn’t the case for me.

The only downside I found is that IV therapy might be a little over some college students’ budgets. But quickly rebounding from your stress or sickness and getting a healthy boost of energy? Well, it might be worth giving IV therapy a try. Hopefully you’re not as terrified of needles as I am.

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