The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) issued a strong warning on the use of injectable Glutathione, a known whitening product.
Whitening “drip” treatments are quite popular in the Philippines, that is concoctions containing substances like glutathione, vitamin C, and collagen that are intravenously administered to customers looking to lighten their complexion.
Clinics say that these treatments are not harmful and can even be good for one’s health but the FDA warned that glutathione has not been evaluated as a skin lightening treatment by published clinical trials.
The FDA said that Glutathione should not be injected to your body.
“Side effects on the use of injectable glutathione for skin lightening include toxic effects on the liver, kidneys, and nervous system. Also of concern is the possibility of Stevens Johnson Syndrome,” the FDA said in a statement.
The syndrome is a rare disorder that manifests through red blisters. It could result to permanent skin damage, eye problems and respiratory failure.
The FDA also warned about Vitamin C injection, which often together with.
“Vitamin C injection may form kidney stones if the urine is acidic. Large doses of Vitamin C have resulted in hemodialysis in patients with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency,” the statement added.
The FDA also said that it has not approved any injectables for skin lightening and that injectable glutathione is only approved as an adjunct treatment in cisplatin chemotherapy.
Side effects of using injectable glutathione for skin lightening include toxic effects on the liver, kidneys, and nervous system. There’s also a risk of getting Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a serious disorder brought out by a reaction to medication that leads to the shedding of skin. Since whitening drips usually contain vitamin C, the FDA warned that they can also cause the forming of kidney stones.
More serious risks include the possibility of developing skin cancer and of contracting HIV, Hepatitis C, and Hepatitis B, especially when the IV is administered by someone not in the medical field or in a non-sterile place.
Apart from clinics that offer them, glutathione drips can be easily be sourced online, with some sellers even offering at-home services.
Like most parts of Asia, light skin is glorified in the Philippines. Whitening products like soaps and lotions are commonly found in supermarkets but more intense whitening procedures like these glutathione IV treatments have gained popularity in recent years.
Last year, the Philippine Dermatological Society also issued a warning against the use of glutathione as a skin whitening agent.