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Hangover Pill Shows Promise in Lab Tests

May 11, 2018, 2:59 PM UTC

The worst part of a night on the town is often the morning after. But new research is offering hope for people whose evening of excess results in the mother of all hangovers.

Yunfeng Lu, a chemical engineering professor at UCLA (and self-confessed wine enthusiast), has been working on a solution to the negative effects of alcohol. And he says tests in lab mice are showing very promising results.

The pill Lu has overseen is filled with natural enzymes usually found in liver cells that help the body process booze faster. That not only would impact the skull splitting headaches and cotton mouth of a hangover, but could work as a treatment for cases of alcohol poisoning in emergency rooms across the country.

To test the drug, Lu and his associates first had to get a lot of mice drunk. Then, they were given the treatment. The result? A 45% decrease in blood alcohol levels in just four hours compared to mice who weren’t treated.

Mice, of course, rarely complain about hangovers, but Lu found that the levels of acetaldehyde, “a highly toxic compound that is carcinogenic, causes headaches and vomiting, makes people blush after drinking, and is produced during the normal alcohol metabolism, remained extremely low.”

Hangover prevention is a big business for some companies. There are drinks, suits, and even “hangover-free booze” in some areas. The results of all of these, though, have been debatable. Lu’s study is aimed to help hospitals, rather than weekend warriors, though, which earns it special merit.

Don’t go on a bender just yet. Lu and his team are checking to make sure there are no dangerous side effects from the treatment. If that goes well, he says, human tests should begin in a year or so.

And seeing as he’s a professor at a university, he probably won’t have a lot of trouble finding testing candidates.