Consumer Alerts

Myers’ Cocktail

Myers’ Cocktail

Many treatment centers for fibromyalgia are heavily promoting the use of intravenous (IV) Myers’ nutrient therapy, or what many call a modified Myers’ cocktail. The advertisements often boast that you can receive up to 60% reduction in pain and an 80% reduction in fatigue. They also claim that you will notice these symptom improvements within two days of receiving the Myers’ IV cocktail.

Myers was a physician who believed that an IV infusion of the ingredients in the table below would help jump-start symptom improvements (especially fatigue) in people with chronic illnesses, but never published data to substantiate his theory. So why is it that treatment centers are claiming you can reap amazing improvements in pain and fatigue with the Myers’ cocktail? They are basing it on a report of seven women with fibromyalgia (and no control subjects for comparison) by Patrick Massey, M.D., Ph.D., of Elk Grove Village, IL.*

Although Massey is to be commended for trying to evaluate a nutrient treatment for fibromyalgia patients, the results of his study are being taken out of context for the promotional use of this expensive therapy ($200 – $300 a shot). Massey selected seven fibromyalgia patients who were already under his care and tried to help them with eight weekly Myers’-type IV infusions. He asked the seven patients to rate their pain and fatigue prior to the first IV, and then to rate these symptoms as a weekly average when they returned to his office for the next infusion. The seven patients knew that they were being given something new to help ease their fibromyalgia symptoms, which could understandably lead to high expectations for health improvements. This was not a blinded or placebo-controlled study.

Massey states in his report that the eight-week therapy reduced pain by 60% and fatigue by 80%. However, due to the lack of a placebo comparison group, the small number of patients in the study, the power of suggestion (the “white coat” effect because doctors often wear white lab coats), and the fact that all seven patients knew they were receiving the nutrient therapy and not a placebo, patients cannot bank on these results. The mere power of suggestion by the person in the white coat (even if it is not intended) may produce phenomenal results from a placebo or sugar pill.

In the discussion part of the report, Massey comments that the therapy is short-lived-lasting between 24 and 48 hours. Yet he provides no data to substantiate this claim. Promoters of the IV Myers’ cocktail may reference the 24-48 hour time frame to imply the speed at which patients should notice symptom improvements, but it is actually the estimated duration of the relief. If you have received IV nutrient therapies before, only to find that they do not produce long-lasting symptom benefits (if any at all), this could be the reason why. Yet, regular infusions of this nature are not practical and they are expensive (approximately $250 per infusion).

Modified Myers’ IV Formula
(may provide up to 48 hours of relief)
Supplement
Ingredients for
IV Dose
Equivalent Daily
Oral Dose
Magnesium chloride hexahydrate
400 mg
200 mg
Calcium gluconate
40 mg
20 mg
Vitamin C
3000 mg
1500 mg
Hydroxocobalmin (B12)
1000 mcg
500 mcg
Pyridoxine hydrochloride (B6)
100 mg
50 mg
Dexpanthenol (B5)
250 mg
125 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
2 mg
1 mg
Thiamine (B1)
100 mg
50 mg
Niacinamide (B3)
100 mg
50 mg
Estimated Costs
$250/IV Dose
$15/Month
mg = milligram • mcg = microgram

Why is the Myers’ cocktail so expensive? Any treatment approach that includes an IV is costly. The ingredients in this IV therapy are relatively cheap when taken orally as nutritional supplements. If one were to take the nutrients in the IV dose over 48 hours as an oral supplement, then the cost per month would be less than $15, as compared to four IV treatments a month totaling about $1,000. (See the third column in the table above for the daily equivalent oral doses.) Patients who are concerned that their diet is deficient in these essential nutrients have little to lose by trying this oral supplementation approach. All you need to do is purchase three supplements: 1) vitamin B complex, 2) vitamin C, and 3) magnesium. The vitamin C formula should be buffered and the magnesium should be chelated so these supplements are gentle on your stomach.

* Massey PB. Alternative Therapies 13(3):32-34, May/June 2007.

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