Four professional associations sent a notice to their members on Monday advising against intravenous vitamin therapy in patients without a diagnosed health problem. This practice, which is on the rise in the province, “poses risks and the proposed benefits are not supported by scientific evidence,” they warn.
“Private clinics promote vitamin cocktails with supposed virtues such as “boosting the immune system or improving memory,” write the College of Physicians of Quebec (CMQ), the Order of Pharmacists of Quebec, that of Quebec nurses and that of dietitians-nutritionists from Quebec. However, there is “no scientific evidence” that intravenous injection of vitamins or minerals makes it possible to achieve these goals, emphasize those who warn the public.
They therefore advise against the use of infusions in people who have not been diagnosed with vitamin or mineral deficiencies, as this practice carries risks. “In the best case scenario, you have spent money unnecessarily. Then, in the worst case scenario, you expose yourself to the risk of infection because all that remains is an intravenous injection. The products must be prepared sterile and administered with caution,” explains Jean-François Desgagné, president of the Order of Pharmacists of Quebec.
In an interview with Le Devoir, Mr. Desgagné complains about the “ambiguity” about the clinics that offer these services. “For these clinics, we don’t know where the medication comes from or how it is prepared. It is difficult to know who the prescriber is and often it is a single prescriber who issues a collective prescription. So that's very worrying. »
Unlike individual prescriptions, bulk prescriptions allow clinic nurses to inject a mixture of ingredients from pharmacies intravenously without their clients even having to meet the prescriber. A survey published on our website in June last year revealed the phenomenon.
Monday's announcement was issued preemptively in the wake of the growing popularity of intravenous vitamin therapy in Quebec, noted Mr. Desgagné. “There seem to be about twenty clinics that have started this practice [dans la province] “, he specifies.
In the event of a vitamin or mineral deficiency, the doctor must definitely examine the patient before determining whether an infusion is necessary, emphasizes Dr. Mauril Gaudreault, President of the CMQ.
The notice issued by the four orders calls on their members who provide intravenous vitamin therapy services to “review this involvement” in light of their code of ethics. “The fact that you are administering an infusion prescribed by another professional does not relieve you of your obligations,” it says.
The president of the Order of Nurses of Quebec, Luc Mathieu, calls on his members to think about the reasons that lead them to inject these products into patients.
For its part, the public must exercise caution in the face of “any miracle cure,” says Dr. Mauril Gaudreault.
When it comes to health information, vigilance is required, adds Joëlle Emond, president of the Order of Quebec Nutritionists. She remembers that experts are available to answer questions from the population about their nutritional needs.
With Stephanie Vallet