Do Any Of The Over The Counter Hangover Remedies Really Work?

No one enjoys a hangover. Waking up with one can sometimes render you unable to function and stuck in bed all day, feeling your absolute worst. A hangover consists of a group of symptoms that develop after drinking too much alcohol. According to the Mayo Clinic, hangover symptoms begin when your blood alcohol content drops significantly to zero or close to it. They're usually in full effect the morning after a night of heavy drinking and typically include fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and mood disturbances.

The number of people who have woken up from a night of drinking, feeling like garbage, swearing they will never drink again, and searching for the best hangover remedies on the internet is probably astronomical. Everyone has their go-to remedy, whether it's Pedialyte, greasy foods, "sunglasses and Advil," or an IV drip. But, what about the over-the-counter medications that claim to cure a hangover? From Cheers, Blowfish, and Liquid IV to Morning Recovery and Bytox; do any of them actually work?

The evidence is unclear

Hangover pills and powders claim that they cut back on symptoms that arise after a night of heavy drinking. They are packed with ingredients that the body lacks during a hangover, such as electrolytes, vitamins, caffeine, and pain relievers. In theory, they should be effective, but unfortunately, it is not that simple. Although there are scientists who research what causes hangovers, there is not much information available with evidentiary support. Since the primary cause of hangovers is unclear, there's no exact way to cure them. According to a 2016 study published in the journal Critical Care Medicine, administering vitamins and electrolytes from a "banana bag" via IV has shown positive results in treating alcohol poisoning in hospitals. Banana bags typically contain magnesium, folic acid, and thiamine (known as vitamin b1), and while not a cure, doctors sometimes use them to replace vitamins and electrolytes that are lost after heavy drinking.

Many over-the-counter hangover remedies include the same ingredients as a banana bag. Morning Recovery, for instance, contains vitamin C and B complex, electrolytes, and dihydromyricetin (a liver support supplement). Bytox, a hangover patch, contains vitamin B, potassium, and folic acid. There are a number of anecdotal reviews from people who say some of these products have helped them. However, you probably won't find a doctor who will endorse these remedies. Remember, these direct-to-consumer products aren't regulated by U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so before trying an over-the-counter hangover supplement, check with your physician.