IV Vitamin C FAQ

What is the intravenous vitamin C cancer treatment?
Research shows that intravenous vitamin C at high doses, used in conjunction with chemotherapy or radiation, kills cancer cells in the early stages of cancer. For those in the later stages of cancer, the intravenous vitamin C protocol may improve the quality of life.

How do I know if the intravenous vitamin C therapy will work for my cancer?
Each individual responds differently, and we can't predict how different tumor types will react. A PET scan usually is a guidepost. If the PET is positive, the tumor usually responds to the vitamin C. If the PET is negative but there is an active tumor present, vitamin C is less effective in most cases. Vitamin C therapy works best in the early stages of cancer when used in conjunction with chemotherapy or radiation. It is not intended as a stand-alone treatment or as a last effort treatment for patients in the late stages of cancer.

How do I get a copy of the intravenous vitamin C protocol?
The protocol is intended for medical professionals only. Medical professionals seeking a copy of the protocol should fax a hand-signed request on their professional letterhead to 913.588.0012. We will send the protocol via fax or email if an email address is provided.

May a child with cancer receive the vitamin C infusions?
We do not treat any cancer patients under the age of 18. Since research studies have been conducted only with adults, the correct dosage for small children has not been determined.

Does oral vitamin C (ascorbate) provide the same results?
No. Oral vitamin C is an antioxidant with controlled absorption. Intravenous vitamin C is a pro-oxidant drug that helps produce hydrogen peroxide, which targets neoplastic cells while leaving normal cells unharmed. Because this form is delivered intravenously, plasma and tissue levels are many times above that of oral dosing.

Is intravenous vitamin C safe?
Patients must have a G6PD test before any infusions are given. We have found no contraindications to providing intravenous vitamin C with any chemotherapy when proper protocol is followed. Additions to the protocol are not recommended. The protocol should NOT be administered in conjunction with methotrexate chemotherapy because of urine pH requirements.

What is a G6PD blood test and why should I get the results from that test before I start the vitamin C infusions?
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency is an inherited condition in which a person's body doesn't have enough of the G6PD enzyme. G6PD helps red blood cells function normally. Patients with this deficiency should not receive vitamin C infusions because it can cause hemolytic anemia.

Will intravenous vitamin C reduce the effectiveness of my chemotherapy or radiology treatments?
No. Research has shown that using the Vitamin C concurrently with chemotherapy or radiation will not decrease the effectiveness of these treatments. In addition, intravenous vitamin C is not an antioxidant. It is a pro-oxidant and seems to augment the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiation. Dr. Drisko and our other program physicians recommend giving it on the same day as the chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment.

I don't live within your area. Will your office help me find a doctor in my area to administer vitamin C infusions?
Many oncologists who administer chemotherapy won't include vitamin C infusions. It's better to get approval from your oncologist to incorporate the intravenous vitamin C into your treatment and then find an integrative medicine physician. You can search online for an integrative medicine physician in your area at the American College for Advancement in Medicine or call ACAM'S physician referral hotline, 888.439.6891.

If your integrative medicine physician does not have a copy of the intravenous vitamin C protocol, he or she must fax a signed request on practice letterhead to 913-588-0012.

Will my oncologist agree to vitamin C infusions?
Because the vitamin C infusions are still in the clinical trial stage and are not FDA-approved, your oncologist may not agree to the infusions. We encourage oncologists to read the research articles included in this section of the website. We ask area patients to sign a waiver stating that their oncologist is aware of the treatment and have given their support to the infusions before any consult can be scheduled in our office.

How will additions, such as B vitamins, affect vitamin C infusions?
Additions, such as B vitamins, may reduce the formation of hydrogen peroxide, which is the chemotherapeutic agent formed by intravenous vitamin C. 

What's the frequency and duration of the vitamin C infusions?
Patients begin with a low dosage and work their way up to the therapeutic level. Once at therapeutic level, the infusions will take between 2.5-3 hours. We usually provide two infusions per week, but some patients may require three infusions a week. 

Can I stop vitamin C infusions for a period of time and begin later at the same dosage?
We don't recommend stopping the intravenous vitamin C unless the patient has been cancer-free for at least a year. If the patient stops the infusions but is not cancer free, the patient may develop tumor cells that are resistant to the intravenous vitamin C's chemotherapeutic agent. Although a patient may stop for a week if necessary, we recommend the patient receive an extra infusion the week before and the week after.

Is it possible to have the vitamin C infusions at my home?
We allow home infusions only under certain conditions:

  • The patient is at the therapeutic dosage
  • Our physicians are confident that the patient can follow the protocol
  • The infusion nurse has provided instructions to the patient

Patients outside the treatment area may need to have a medical professional write a prescription for the purchase of supplies. The medical professional would also need to monitor the patient's care on a continual basis and keep in close contact with the individual administering the infusions. We do not write prescriptions for infusions outside of our treatment area.

I've started the intravenous vitamin C, but my tumor markers continue to go up. Are the vitamin C infusions causing the cancer to spread?
No. If the protocol is being followed correctly, the intravenous vitamin C is working as a chemotherapeutic agent. Just as some types of chemotherapy may not be successful, the same is true of vitamin C infusions.

How important are diet and oral supplementation?
Diet plays a huge role in the protocol. We use the four-point program: diet, oral supplements, intravenous vitamin C and chemotherapy or radiation. Oral supplements are recommended on a case by case basis. We highly recommend the book, Beating Cancer with Nutrition, by Patrick Quillin.

If a patient smokes or is continuously exposed to second-hand smoke, is the effectiveness of the vitamin C infusions diminished?
Yes, absolutely. The oxidants from cigarette smoking or second-hand smoke lower vitamin C levels in the blood. It is extremely important that patients stop smoking or limit their exposure to second-hand smoke.

Will my insurance cover the costs of the vitamin C infusions?
In most cases, no. Vitamin C infusions range in price from $125.00 to $160. Because vitamin C infusions are not FDA-approved, insurance companies are not inclined to cover costs. Alternative medicine physicians must use different billing codes, and these are not usually accepted by insurance companies. 

Can my doctor ask Dr. Drisko or Dr. Sullivan questions about intravenous vitamin C?
Absolutely. First, we suggest that your physician read the research articles in this section of the website and have the protocol in hand before setting up a time to talk.

May I talk with Dr. Drisko or Dr. Sullivan?
We offer phone consultations on a very limited basis to patients outside Greater Kansas City. The physicians will not answer medical condition questions without proper documentation and a scheduled phone consultation. Appropriate documentation includes recent medical records, timeline of the cancer, and completion of our 20-page questionnaire.

Phone consultations cost $100 per half hour. We must receive all documentation and payment before we schedule a phone consultation. To schedule a phone consultation, call 913-588-6208.

Is there a difference between corn-derived vitamin C and beet-derived vitamin C?
According to Dr. Drisko, beet-derived vitamin C has no advantage over corn-derived vitamin C.

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