Four orders of health professionals sent a notice to their members on Monday to advise against intravenous vitamin therapy in patients without a diagnosed health problem. This practice, which is growing in the province, “carries risks and the proposed benefits are not supported by scientific evidence,” they emphasize.
“Private clinics promote vitamin cocktails with alleged virtues such as “strengthening the immune system or improving memory”,” write the Collège des Médecins du Québec (CMQ), the Order of Pharmacists of Quebec, that of Nurses and nurses of Quebec and that of dietitians-nutritionists of Quebec. However, the “proposed benefits are not supported by scientific evidence”, they detail.
The four professional orders therefore advise against the use of infusions “in people who do not have a vitamin or mineral deficiency”. Receiving such treatment without needing it carries risks, underlines Jean-François Desgagné, president of the Order of Pharmacists of Quebec. “In the best case scenario, you will have spent money unnecessarily. Then in the worst case, you put yourself at risk of infection, because it remains an intravenous injection. The products must be prepared in a sterile manner, must be administered with caution,” he said in an interview with Duty.
The “vagueness” surrounding this practice worries Mr. Desgagné. “In the case of these clinics, we do not know where the medicines come from, and how they are prepared. It’s difficult to know who the prescriber is and often it’s a single prescriber who issues a collective prescription. So that is very worrying. »
Unlike individual prescriptions where you must consult a doctor, collective prescriptions allow, for example, clinic nurses to inject intravenously a mixture of ingredients from compounding pharmacies, without their clients even meeting the prescribing doctor. A survey published in our pages last June exposed the phenomenon.
However, in the case of a patient who has been diagnosed with vitamin or mineral deficiencies, the doctor must absolutely examine him before deciding whether to proceed with the infusion, indicates Dr. Mauril Gaudreault, president of the CMQ.
Monday’s notice was issued preventively in the wake of the growing popularity of intravenous vitamin therapy in Quebec, notes Mr. Desgagné. “There seem to be about twenty clinics that have started this practice [dans la province] “, he specifies.
As for health professionals, those who administer an infusion prescribed by a colleague do not evade their ethical obligations, according to the four orders. The latter affirm that their members must therefore ask themselves the following questions: “What health needs does this prescription address? Do I have the knowledge and skills required to administer it? Am I able to provide the necessary monitoring and follow-up? »
Further details will follow.