Tom and Kelly McCarthy of Newburyport, Massachusetts, try out the services at the services during their first visit to The Drip Bar at Rock Row in Westbrook. Chance Viles / American Journal

If you have a headache, or feel sluggish, or are suffering the effects of too much alcohol the night before,  a new business at Rock Row in Westbrook says it has a drip for that.

The Drip Bar offers on-demand intravenous delivery of vitamins and minerals tailored to what ails you.

“The major benefit is that all of these vitamins and nutrients are going right to your bloodstream. When you are ill or unwell you might not be absorbing everything through your gut,” said franchise owner and registered nurse Kara Roach. “It’s not curative. We don’t cure issues, but we want to help with them.”

An IV packs hang above a reclined chair at the Westbrook facility. Chance Viles / American Journal

While professionals are split on the effectiveness of these kinds of infusions,  Roach, scores of internet testimonials and numerous celebrities swear by the instant relief of “a drip,” in this case administered by one of several registered nurses working at the Westbrook shop.

Customers choose from a menu of vitamin cocktails targeting specific ailments, such as sluggishness, dehydration or jet lag, or opt for a mix designed to improve skin and hair health. Prices range from about $100 for a basic drip up to $350.

Most of the 18 cocktails contain the same or similar vitamins as a multi-vitamin, but a mixture focusing on skin and hair health would include more biotin, for instance. Cocktails for brain fog lean heavier on vitamin B12, while hydration packs have more collagen and Vitamin D. Other ingredients could include mistletoe or antioxidants like alpha-lipoic acid.


After making their selection, customers settle into one of the reclining chairs with their IV bag hanging overhead. A nurse measures vital signs before beginning the drip.

IVs can make some people nauseated, and a non-narcotic nausea medicine is available if customers feel ill. They can also cause some people to feel chilly, in which case blankets are provided.

It can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour to receive the infusion; the speed is up to the customer.

Roach emphasizes The Drip Bar’s cleanliness. All supplements are first sent to labs for testing to ensure their safety and the facility complies with government standards for sterilization required of pharmacies, she said.

Customers now choose from lab-tested drips that come directly from pharmacies, but The Drip Bar soon will have hospital-grade sterilization equipment that will allow it to mix its own drips in-house. The equipment will eliminate any concern about bacterial growth that could cause infections, Roach said.

Her interest in on-demand intravenous vitamin therapy began during a trip to Las Vegas, she said. She noticed a number of drip buses catering to partying gamblers, who would get an infusion and then be shuttled to their next venue. Similar businesses in large cities bring drips to offices or residences.


Roach hopes to emulate that mobility and plans to offer a mobile option in the future.

The Drip Bar employee and registered nurse Heather Meehan prepares a drip pack for a customer. Chance Viles / American Journal

Health experts don’t agree on the effectiveness of drip therapy.

Drip bars are typically safe, but drinking nutrients can be just as effective and certainly less expensive, physician Robert Shmerling, the senior editor of Harvard Health Publishing, wrote in a 2018 article.

Staff at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles said drip therapy benefits patients with gastrointestinal issues who can’t always absorb vitamins and minerals when taken orally, but they contend there isn’t enough scientific evidence to prove whether IV drips are beneficial long term, according to a 2019 blog post on the hospital website.

In that post, Dr. Sam Torbati, co-chair of Emergency Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, said the instant relief felt after treatment is likely related to rapid hydration rather than the vitamins.

Tom and Kelly McCarthy, a Newburyport, Massachusetts, couple, visited The Drip Bar in Westbrook for the first time last week.


“I have friends and family who actually swear by this, so I wanted to try it,” he  said. “I’m a believer in more alternative medicine, acupuncture, chiropractors, so it was up my alley.”

His wife agreed.

“For me, I am running a half marathon next week, and I had a big run last weekend. I am hoping this helps with my sort of recovery in between,” she said while receiving her IV treatment.

McCarthy said she is normally worried about needles, but the nurses were good at distraction and making a needle entry.

“I would definitely come back here, “she said.

The Drip Bar opened about a month ago near Rock Row’s designated medical campus, which will be anchored by New England Cancer Specialists. Developers said earlier they hoped to attract health-minded businesses to their project.

“It is really great to see what we call ‘functional medicine,’ paired with traditional medicines. I am excited to be here,” Roach said.

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