Hangover Cure?

Posted By: Harvard DAPA

“Hangover cure?  Drink a glass over water and take a few pain relief pills before going to bed.”

This is a phrase I’ve heard several times while out on campus.  And though you may wake up in the morning without a headache, that might not be the whole story.  Acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol) is a known cause of liver failure, when taken in large doses.  Taking more than 8 extra-strength tablets in 24 hours can lead to hepatotoxicity and taking 20 or more can lead directly to acute liver failure.  In fact, to prevent customers from overdosing, Tylenol Extra Strength bottles contain several distinct warning that Tylenol should not be taken with other drugs, especially not with other drugs that contain acetaminophen or alcohol.  Why not with alcohol?  When alcohol and acetaminophen mix in your body, they create chemicals that can cause serious damage to your liver; liver damage can occur even while taking the recommended dose of Tylenol.  This means that taking Tylenol right after a night of drinking-or even the next day while hungover-can lead to a damaged liver.

It is best to avoid all pain medication after drinking, but if you need some sort of pain relief, ibuprofen is much safer.  The combination of ibuprofen, even when taken in recommended doses, and alcohol can lead to stomach bleeding, but taking ibuprofen is much safer than Tylenol.

For more information on drug interactions, visit http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa27.htm.

Buzzed, Cynthia Kuhn

Permanent link to this article: http://www.harvarddapa.org/2011/09/hangover-cure/


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