Strategies for a Hangover-Free Holiday Season
Old-fashioned remedies remain most effective prevention for hangovers
New Hangover Prevention Strategies?
You may have seen ads for products that promise a night of excessive
drinking with minimal hangover residue, simply by popping some pills or even
changing the way you consume alcohol. But do they work?
As for the hangover prevention pills, many in the medical community remain
unconvinced of their effectiveness. "They haven't been carefully
studied," Hetzler says.
A few "hangover helper" pills contain a single key ingredient
designed to ward off the unpleasant aftereffects of alcohol. Artichoke extract
is one of them. While the product manufacturer touts this natural substance's
effectiveness against hangovers, scientists at the UK's Peninsula Medical
School found artichoke extract ineffective at curbing alcohol's
Of all the hangover helper pills, HPF Hangover Prevention Formula, an herbal
supplement containing derivatives of the prickly pear cactus, has shown the
most promise. Researchers found it reduces three of nine hangover symptoms:
nausea, dry mouth, and loss of appetite. It's believed to work by reducing the
body's inflammatory response that alcohol causes.
But skepticism remains high.
"The supplement [HPF Hangover Prevention Formula] is designed mostly to
address allergic reactions that cause headaches. It does nothing for things
like abstract memory impairment linked with learning, nothing for the central
nervous system suppression, the diuretic effect, etc.," asserts Patrick
Breslin, an alcohol and drug prevention facilitator at Western Wisconsin
"The only evidence is their [manufacturers'] own internal reports. To
the best of my knowledge, there's no evidence that there's any supplement you
can take that will prevent a hangover. These claims have not stood up to
scientific scrutiny by unbiased researchers," White tells WebMD.
Incidentally, the study that demonstrated the prickly pear derivative's defense
against hangovers was supported by the product's manufacturer.
If hangover prevention pills don't work, there's also a whole new way to
consume alcohol intended to curb the nasty aftereffects of consumption. The
alcohol-vapor machine, or "alcohol without liquid" (AWOL) device, works
by turning shots of liquor into an inhaled alcohol mist. The vaporized alcohol
then mixes with oxygen and is inhaled through a tube, creating an immediate
high and, according to product claims, no hangover.