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Local Doctor Takes A Closer Look At So-Called Hangover Cures

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- There are several new products that claim to prevent hangovers, or in some cases, ease the symptoms. But do they actually work?

KDKA's David Highfield asked an expert to evaluate some of the claims.

We're talking about everything from patches you wear to pills to special drinks. It appears to be a growing market.

Since there's been alcohol, there have been hangovers.

For more common hangover symptoms, people try a variety of things from apple juice to Gatorade to orange juice before bed to just sleeping all day long.

"Wake up and start drinking again," said one person.

Actually though, experts say a little hair of the dog only delays your recovery. But a new generation of hangover products promises to prevent or at least relieve the symptoms.

KDKA asked Dr. Scott Drab from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy to evaluate four of the new products.

First on the list is something called "Mercy." It's a drink you're supposed to have while you drink alcohol, or afterwards to prevent a hangover.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly believed so strongly in it, she invested in the company. But was our expert impressed with it?

It's blend of amino acids, antioxidants and vitamins, including B vitamins.

"The only reference I could find in any literature that really suggests that this may work is that B vitamins may speed up the metabolism to some degree," said Dr. Drab.

Remember that when you drink alcohol your liver works to metabolize it, and it normally takes one to four hours per drink.

So, what's the bottom line on "Mercy?"

"There's no evidence that it doesn't work, and yet no evidence that it does work," Dr. Drab said.

Next up is something you're supposed to take the next morning. "Blowfish" bubbles up in water. And the doctor says your body will absorb it faster that way.

"This product is actually FDA approved," said Dr. Drab.

Also, it contains aspirin and caffeine - thumbs up from the doctor on that, too.

"I could certainly feel comfortable in recommending this product," he said. "The only thing that concerned me about this product is the price."

At $11.99 for 12 tablets, he thinks you can find cheaper options.

Then, there's "Bytox", which is a patch that you wear.

According to its website, it was created by a plastic surgeon. You're supposed to be able to stop hangovers before they start by putting the patch on your skin 45 minutes before you drink.

"I didn't find any specific data… that they're active ingredients are more quickly absorbed because it's in a patch," said Dr. Drab.

Those ingredients include a list of vitamins, and once again include lots of B vitamins. But he says he can't find any documented studies to show that it works or that it doesn't work.

Finally, there's "THC," or the Texas Hangover Cure.

"It said it was formulated by a college student who wanted to party, but didn't want to wake up with a hangover," Dr. Drab said.

After you're done drinking, you're supposed pour the powder into some water and drink up.

"This one had the prickly pear cactus and some milk thistle in it," he says.

And what's the bottom line here? Well, the doctor says he can't recommend it.

"Simply because, again, there's no evidence that this product actually does do what it says it's going to do," said Dr. Drab.

So, what does he recommend for a hangover?

He says Gatorade to get re-hydrated. For headaches, he says aspirin - not Tylenol. Also, antacids for an upset stomach; and some caffeine, if you feel sluggish.

The doctor says the only sure-fire way to avoid a hangover, is not to drink in the first place.

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