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LIST: Risks of IV glutathione, vitamin drips |

Health And Family

LIST: Risks of IV glutathione, vitamin drips

Kristofer Purnell -
LIST: Risks of IV glutathione, vitamin drips
Mariel Rodriguez conducting an IV drip session in the Senate office of her husband Robin Padilla
Mariel Rodriguez via Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — Concerns regarding intravenous infusion or IV drip are on the rise again following the controversial incident of host-actress Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla.

Last week, Rodriguez-Padilla drew flak after conducting an IV drip session in the Senate office of her husband and fellow actor Robin Padilla.

Rodriguez-Padilla has since apologized for the incident, clarifying that it was a Vitamin C drip she was taking and not glutathione, which according to the host-actress was mistakenly circulated when the issue went viral.

In the original post on Instagram which is now taken down, Rodriguez-Padilla did not mention glutathione or Vitamin C, only that the drip helps in collagen production, whitening, energy, metabolism, and immunity.

The incident in the Senate comes a month after a 39-year-old woman passed away reportedly from glutathione and stem cell treatments via IV. According to authorities, the victim had a chronic kidney disease.

"This is a preventable death, and we need to act on this," Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa said then.

FDA on IV drips

In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an advisory warning the public on the dangers associated with the use of injectable lightening agents like glutathione.

The FDA said there are no published clinical trials that have evaluated the use of injectable glutathione for skin lightening and no published guidelines for appropriate dosing regimens and duration of treatment.

Related: DOH reiterates warning vs ‘gluta’ drip as skin whitener

Furthermore, the FDA has not approved any injectable products for skin lightening, and injectable glutathione is only approved as an adjunct treatment in cisplatin chemotherapy.

Some side effect include toxic effects on the liver, kidneys, and nervous system and the possibility of Stevens Johnson Syndrome.

The FDA also noted that injectable glutathione is often paired with Vitamin C via IV.  Vitamin C injection may form kidney stones if the urine is acidic and large doses have resulted in hemodialysis in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency.

Vitamin C via IV

The Mayo Clinic describes Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C injection as a short term treatment — up to one week only — for scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) for patients unable to take medicine by mouth.

Retreatment of the medicine is needed if symptoms do not improve after a week.

Such a medicine should be given by or under the direct supervision of one's doctor with the help of a nurse or another trained health professional after weighing the risks of taking it against the good it will do.

The healthcare company noted the presence of other medical problems may affect the use of Vitamin C IV, primarily the previously mentioned G6PD deficiency, kidney disease, and history of kidney stones.

The Mayo Clinic advises regular visits with one's doctor to ensure the medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests may be needed, especially as it could increase the risk of kidney problems.

Related: 'Drip, drip!': Mariel Rodriguez pokes fun at controversial IV drip session in Senate

Health concerns include bloody urine, a decrease in urine frequency, an increase in blood pressure, increased thirst, loss of appetite, lower back or side pain, nausea, swelling of the face, fingers, or lower legs, troubled breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, vomiting, or weight gain.

Rodriguez-Padilla aftermath

An Instagram post by the company which Rodriguez-Padilla organized her IV session with said their Beauty and Vitamin Drip "is formulated with Vitamin C, Glutathione, Antioxidants, Natural Collagen, Kojic Acid, Human Placenta Extract, Embryonic Stem Cell, Vitamin B Complex and Amino Acid."

"It's more [of] an ethical issue. [It] means a doctor prescribed a drug as 'off label' use," Herbosa told regarding Rodriguez-Padilla's incident. "There is only a liability when there is harm. Which means the patient can sue the doctor that prescribed it."

Senate Ethics Committee chairperson Nancy Binay previously mentioned being bothered by Mariel's action in the Senate, saying that the incident involves the issues of "conduct, integrity, and reputation of the Institution and matters that concern health and safety."

Binay also reiterated the DOH and FDA's stance on receiving glutathione and Vitamic C via IV, and questioned how it was administered outside the clinic without the proper medical advice from licensed health professionals.

"As public figures, we should be more aware of our responsibilities to the public," Binay said in Filipino. "We might be promoting something illegal. Let us remember our responsibilities, especially if your partner is a senator."

The DOH advised those who experience side effects from glutathione to seek medical action immediately and report to the FDA at, through the agency’s website, or call the Center for Drug Regulation and Research at (02) 8809-5596. — With reports from Gaea Cabico, James Relativo, and Ian Laqui

RELATED: Mariel Rodriguez not liable for IV drip use, says DOH

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