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Michael Jackson reportedly got a Myers cocktail. So what is that exactly?

July 6, 2009 |  6:05 pm

The Myers cocktail, an intravenous blend of vitamins and minerals, has become increasingly popular in the less-traditional medical world in recent years. It went public a few days ago when nurse Cherilyn Lee, who specializes in nutritional counseling, said she had given Michael Jackson an intravenous blend of vitamins and minerals called a Myers cocktail.

In the Associated Press story, she's quoted as saying: "It wasn't that he felt sick. ... He just wanted more energy." Jackson had been asking for Diprivan, Lee said. 

The concoction, based on one created by physician John Myers of Baltimore, includes magnesium, calcium, several B vitamins and vitamin C.

Here's an overview, "Intravenous Nutrient Therapy: The 'Myers’ Cocktail,'"  published in Alternative Medicine Review in 2002.

It's written by Dr. Alan Gaby, who popularized the mixture and who contends that the cocktail "has been found to be effective against acute asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome), fibromyalgia, acute muscle spasm, upper respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis, seasonal allergic rhinitis, cardiovascular disease, and other disorders."

These are bold claims.

Even the paper acknowledges that the evidence of its effectiveness is largely anecdotal and that there's little in the way of published research.

And yet in his conclusion, Gaby says: "In many instances this treatment is more effective and better tolerated than conventional medical therapies. ... Widespread appropriate use of this treatment would likely reduce the overall cost of healthcare, while greatly improving the health of many individuals."

Perhaps explaining the appeal, and lack of obvious effectiveness, of such intravenous nutrients, there's this discussion-starting post on a Lyme disease support group forum from a patient who had a Myers cocktail via IV drip:

"I didn't feel much yesterday after having it administered but today I feel pretty darn good. Hard to know, though if it's the treatment or not since good and bad days alternating is my norm."

More recently, the blog Terra Sigillata, by a researcher trained in pharmacology and toxicology, explains the "Myers' cocktail" in relation to the Jackson case.

He offers some background material on the concoction and adds: "I am particularly concerned with the calcium composition of this intravenous brew; while not likely to be toxic on its own, if dosed as listed, I do have some concern if Mr. Jackson already had pre-existing cardiac problems and/or was receiving drugs such as Demerol (meperidine) or Diprivan (propofol) which each pose a risk of cardiac toxicity."

-- Tami Dennis
 

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