Australia's health authorities have started cracking down on “hangover clinics” after someone's morning-after quick fix landed them in hospital.
New South Wales Health kicked off the investigation over the weekend, ordering the Sydney iv.me operation to close after a visitor to the clinic was taken to St Vincent's Hospital with fever, abdominal pain and low blood pressure.
Set up by pharmacist Shadi Kazeme, iv.me offers a range of “detox” and hydration treatments, administered intravenously. Some of the treatments include a vitamin C dose that will “super saturate your cells and get you feeling better from that cold or flu, as well as give your skin, hair and nails the love they deserve”, an “anti-ageing infusion” that “amps up the immune system and detoxifies the liver”, and so on. Such treatments are billed as a fine way to dispel a hangover, depression, jetlag, chronic fatigue, "prevention against aging, improving sports performance, increasing energy or simply giving an overall sense of well-being."
In a statement to Fairfax Media, Kazeme blamed a third-party supplier for the incident and said the company had changed suppliers “as a precaution”.
During January, the Australian Medical Association's VP Dr Stephen Parnis warned that unnecessary vitamins create expensive urine, and more seriously, sticking a cannula in a vein unnecessarily risks blood clots, infections, and damage to blood vessels and nerves.
As various outlets reported at the time, Monash University's Ken Harvey has reported iv.me to the Pharmacy Board of Australia, and has lodged complaints against the country's other operator, The Hangover Clinic, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Medical Board of Australia.
Kazeme's statement to Fairfax noted that the Melbourne iv.me clinic remains open, and that the company intends to resume operations in Sydney.
One popular belief among boosters of hangover clinics is that they ingredients they use is harmless, so at worst they're a placebo.
However, The Mayo Clinic notes that an overdose of Vitamin C can cause “nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting” and in the longer term can lead to kidney stones. Excess vitamin C can also cause dangerously raised iron levels.
Most B-group vitamins are innocuous in high doses, but too much B6 can cause nerve damage (for example, according to Victoria's Department of Health). ®