MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

I came across an embarrassingly poor and uncritical article that essentially seemed to promote a London-based clinic specialised in giving vitamins intravenously. Its website shows the full range of options on offer and it even lists the eye-watering prices they command. Reading this information, my amazement became considerable and I decided to share some of it with you.

Possibly the most remarkable of all the treatments on offer is this one (the following are quotes from the clinic’s website):

Stemcellation injections or placenta lucchini (sheep placenta) treatments are delivered intravenously (via IV), although intramuscular (IM) administration is also possible. Stem cells are reported to possess regenerative biological properties.

We offer two types of Stemcellation injections: a non-vegetarian option and a vegetarian-friendly option. Please enquire for further details.

Alongside placenta lucchini, Stemcellation injections at Vitamin Injections London contain a range of other potent active ingredients, including: physiologically active carbohydrate, nucleic acid, epithelial growth factor, amino acids, hydrolysed collagen, concentrated bioprotein and stem cells.

Please visit our Vitamin 101 section to learn more about the ingredients in Stemcellation sheep placenta injections.

Renowned for their powerful regenerating properties, Stemcellation injections can stimulate collagen production as well as:

  • Remedy cosmetic problems such as wrinkles, discolouration, pigmentation, eye bags and uneven skin tone;
  • Can be undertaken by those who are interested in maintaining their physical activity levels;
  • Can be undertaken alongside other IV/IM injections.

Vitamin Injections London is headed by skilled IV/IM Medical Aesthetician and Skin Specialist Bianca Estelle. Our skilled IV/IM practitioners will conduct a full review of your medical history and advise you regarding your suitability for Stemcellation injections.

END OF QUOTES

The only Medline-listed paper I was able to locate on the subject of placenta lucchini injections was from 1962 and did not substantiate any of the above claims. In my view, all of this begs many questions; here are just seven that spring into my mind:

  1. Is there any evidence at all that any of the intravenous injections/infusions offered at this clinic are effective for any condition other than acute vitamin deficiencies (which are, of course, extremely rare these days)?
  2. Would the staff be adequately trained to diagnose such cases?
  3. How do they justify the price tags for their treatments?
  4. What is a ‘medical aesthetician’ and a ‘skin specialist’?
  5. Is it at all legal for ‘medical aestheticians’ and ‘skin specialists’ (apparently without medical qualifications) to give intravenous injections and infusions?
  6. How many customers have suffered severe allergic reactions after placenta lucchini (or other) treatments?
  7. Is the clinic equipped and its staff adequately trained to deal with medical emergencies?

These are not rhetorical questions; I genuinely do not know the answers. Therefore, I would be obliged, if you could answer them for me, in case you know them.

 

15 Responses to Intravenous quackery anyone?

  • Wow! Are some people so gullible that they would pay anything for what is described? The claims seem so much advertising talk but potentially against the Trade Descriptions Act too.

    However, as a recipient of various hospital based IV therapies in the past, I really wouldn’t like anyone other than a skilled doctor to do IV treatment! I doubt i these clinics came manage that!

  • Of course, by only selling injections they avoid the EU food regs.

  • I lost them at “vegetarian-friendly”.

  • I Tweeted at the CQC:

    Hi @CQCpressoffice @CQCProf @CareQualityComm

    Can you say whether this clinic is/should be registered with yourselves?

    VITAMIN INJECTIONS LONDON

    vitamininjections.co.uk

    See also: Intravenous quackery anyone?

    https://edzardernst.com/2019/01/intravenous-quackery-anyone/

    cc @EdzardErnst

    They replied:

    Hi Alan, judging by the information available, it’s unlikely they’re providing any regulated activities.

    If you have any additional information, could you share that with our team on enquiries@cqc.org.uk please?

    I responded:

    Intravenous vitamins and amino acids, chelation, extraction and injection of ‘Platelet Rich Plasma’ and diagnostics aren’t regulated activities? Why?

    I suspect I know what their answer will be, but let’s see.

  • Wow!!!??

    Is there no law or regulation against laypeople pretending to be health care professionals?
    Wasn’t one of the charges Robert O. Young was convicted for in California injecting people and thereby pretending to be a doctor?
    I found nothing that gave the impression there are any health care professionals responsible or employed there. One would think a nurse was the least requirement for wielding a syringe, notwithstanding the substance injected?

    This site is so full of stuff that astonishes and scares an old physician that I have a hard time choosing favourites. Among the more scary offerings is i.v. Magnesium injections, which can literally stop the heart if given improperly. If you are to give any significant dose you need to use a precise infusion pump, have a heart rate monitor coupled and be prepared to treat arrhythmias and even resuscitate. Hopefully she is clever enough to only give a milliliter or so just to pretend. We had a doctor doing that here. He used a tiny insulin-syringe and the little old ladies (of both sexes) were very happy with his revitalising injections of negligible amounts of magnesium chloride or whatever he put in the syringe. When asked, he said he believed we should use the wonderful benefits of placebo more often!

    One product on sale at this incredible establishment brought out a hearty chuckle though. I guess the vitamin plaster is good enough for those who have syringe phobia like me, but vitamin D and B12 are not going to get through your skin, at least not in any useful amount 😀

    • Correction:
      I had missed a list of staff, found by scrolling down on this page: http://www.vitamininjections.co.uk/about-us/
      They have at least some nurse practitioners on staff, so that makes it a little closer to proper professions but far from safe I guess.
      Here’s something about the title of the person who is in charge: https://www.zwivel.com/blog/medical-aestheticians-become-one/

      • Well, role of nurse practitioners in the UK is somewhat different from other countries. The UK Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register is down at the time of writing but in short, it’s whether they have additional qualifications to be able to prescribe (from a limited formulary) that’s more important than “practitioner” title. Nurse practitioners in the UK as a rule do not work independently. There will be oversight from a doctor.

        Whether the products involved are Prescription Only Medicines (POM) is down to the MHRA – and they certainly won’t be in the formulary. The stem cell potions will almost certainly would be classed as unlicensed medicines which are de facto POM.

  • I note at the bottom of their web page on ‘Policies’:

    “Obtaining a signature from clients is important to our practitioners at Vitamin Injections London, as this indicates that all relevant information has been read and fully comprehended. The concept of ‘informed consent’ means that both client and practitioner understand what exactly is to be done, and what the predicted outcome is likely to be.

    It also details the risks of the procedure, the recovery process, and supplies detailed instructions regarding aftercare. You will be required to read, sign and date your consent form prior to commencing treatments at Vitamin Injections London.”

    Is it possible for anyone to obtain a copy of this ‘consent form’, and thereby, of the claims which are made?

    I obviously do not want to e-mail them a request and end up on their mailing list – does anyone of integrity have a back channel?

    We should know exactly what they claim to do and the outcomes they predict (claim).

  • How the heck can you have ‘vegetarian friendly’ stem cells for humans? Maybe that’s where Prof Quatermass went wrong with the whole ‘cactus taking over the world’ scenario! Surely the ‘sheep placenta’ can’t actually be injected as a suspension, they must be talking about homeopathic preparations, homeopaths love placentas, they use them for all sorts of things.

    Niall

  • Re: “How do they justify the price tags for their treatments?”

    They don’t have to. As long as a person believes the value they are getting is equal to the dollars they are about to spend, the transaction will happen. If they are selling these treatments at these prices, clearly their pitch has convinced as least some people.

  • I wrote to the UK Medicinces and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency (MHRA) about IV vitamin injections a while back. Their response –

    There are a number of vitamins and minerals available for intravenous administration in the UK which are labelled as medicinal products and which have marketing authorisations (MAs). These are for specific medical purposes and, often solely by virtue of their mode of administration, default to being prescription only medicines (POMs).

    However, the definition of a medicine does not allow consideration of the mode of administration in isolation and there is no legal basis to make an injectable product per se a medicine.

    In the absence of medicinal claims, we do not therefore consider intravenous vitamins and minerals to be medicinal products. They are regulated in accordance with the General Products Safety Directive. Clinics may advertise the services they offer, as for example ‘vitamin supplementation to promote optimal health’, and provided medicinal claims are not made and they are not providing specific POMs to the public, the products administered intravenously by these clinics will not fall under medicines legislation. The clinics are regulated by the Care Quality Commission who are responsible for ensuring appropriate safety standards are met.

    In 2015, it came to our attention that a number of clinics were advertising the administration of intravenous vitamins and minerals for health benefits and we wrote to advise them that they should review all advertising material to ensure that their claims and recommendations bring their products within the definition of a medicinal product.

    We wrote to a number of clinics again in February 2017 to remind them, once again, that where claims are made which bring the products within the definition of a medicinal product medicines legislation will apply. While we are aware of a number of compliant clinics we remain concerned that there are instances where clinics are continuing to make medicinal claims for their products and we are working with them to ensure compliance.

    You refer to a claim on the Reviv website. MHRA is aware of this company and is working with them to ensure compliance and, while we are unable to comment on specific aspects of the case, I can assure you that we are actively seeking to ensure that the company understands the requirements of medicines legislation and that they achieve regulatory compliance as soon as possible.

    The article on the Aesthetics Journal website is dated May 2016 and refers to an MHRA letter sent to IntraVita Limited on 28 August 2015. It is incorrect that this letter informed the company that MHRA had ‘classified intravenous nutritional products as supplements not medicines’. The letter stated that where claims are made which could bring IV products within the definition of a medicinal product they will fall under the provisions of medicines legislation, and that if the intention of a clinic is to administer vitamins and mineral products intravenously for non-medicinal purposes this must be clear.

    It was explicitly stated in the letter that while MHRA are not currently minded to classify all products that are marketed for intravenous administration by clinics as medicines, this is a decision that is likely to be kept under review.

  • Let’s not skip the fundamentals here:

    © 2018 VITAMIN INJECTIONS LONDON. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    Did you obtain permission from the owner before reposting their content on your blog?

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