On last night's premiere of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa Rinna traded her infamous "bag of pills" for an IV of vitamins instead. Rinna and her daughters, Delilah and Amelia, chat about the fact that they're getting sick, and Rinna says she has a vitamin drip coming for the three of them. Delilah excitedly sighs that she loves vitamin drips, because "you feel so good after." Rinna agrees: "Aren't they great? Because we need it. We're busy."
Sure enough, Ehsan Ali, MD, a primary care physician and "concierge doctor" in Beverly Hills, makes a house call to administer IVs in bed. "This will make me not sick anymore, right?" Delilah asks. "It's, like, water with all the different minerals, vitamin B12 and vitamin C," Dr. Ali says. Then he explains it's going to help her feel better because "we're hydrating you." So, what exactly is a vitamin drip?
The vitamin drip that Rinna and her family received is what's called a "Myer's cocktail," but it's been rebranded as an "IV vitamin treatment." Named after the doctor who invented it, a Myer's cocktail contains a blend of saline solution, magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C, and it's delivered intravenously, or through your veins.
According to a 2002 study conducted by Alan Gaby, MD, a biochemist who focuses on nutritional medicine, a Myer's cocktail can be used to treat a variety of conditions, such as acute asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, muscle spasms, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinus infections, seasonal allergies, cardiovascular disease, and more. For upper respiratory tract infections (aka common colds), one patient was "symptom-free" after just 10 minutes of the IV, according to the 2002 study. Per Rinna's logic, IV drips may be a convenient choice for busy people who can afford paying $300+ for a house call (insurance typically won't cover this procedure).
As the name suggests, vitamin drips require an IV in place to deliver the vitamins to your bloodstream, so you need a doctor or medical professional there to administer it to you. To that same point, it's important to talk to your primary care physician before seeing another doctor who specializes in IV drips, because your primary care physician knows specific information about your health and can help you make an informed decision.
While a vitamin IV drip isn't necessarily dangerous, in some cases the vitamins can have a negative reaction with certain drugs, or the IV can cause a blood clot or inflammation of the vein, according to NPR. (That's why it's important to talk to your doctor.) Delilah said that she felt cold when it started, and often people report feeling warm or cold when the IV begins, which can be uncomfortable. So, you have to decide if it's really worth the money and the discomfort just for some hydration and vitamins that you can get from water and food.
If there's one health lesson you can take away from RHOBH, it's that the trendy procedures you see on T.V. aren't always the ones that are right for you. And if you are fighting a cold like Rinna and her teenage daughters, then there are other ways to feel better and hydrate that don't involve hundreds of dollars and a house call — like, ya know, drinking water and resting.