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#1
Old 09-22-2004, 09:05 PM
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"Chasers" hangover remedy: What are they and do they work?

I keep seeing commercials for something called "Chasers" which are apparently some sort of pill that you take before drinking to orevent hangovers.

Now, I don't believe for a second that these things work but what exactly is being sold here and what does it do?
#2
Old 09-22-2004, 09:23 PM
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I haven't seen a list of ingredients, but being sold OTC I would suspect it's just a bunch of herbs and whatnot. I think it was Maxim a few months ago that tested these remedies and Chaser came in dead last.
#3
Old 09-22-2004, 09:38 PM
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FTR, they aren't OTC drugs. They are dietary supplements and unlike drugs do not need to be tested for effectiveness and safety before being released for sale.

http://drugstore.com/products/pr...Y-PLST-0-BRAND

There are a number of products at this site with Chaser in the title. All have some form of calcium carbonate in them (limestone, essentially). It says that it absorbs harmful chemicals in alcoholic beverages which cause hangovers.

Uh huh, that's great.
#4
Old 09-22-2004, 10:32 PM
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I once saw a hangover cure in a 7-11. It was a packet of powder that mostly contained aspirin and Vitamin C. The instructions said to mix half of the packet in a 16 ounce glass of water and drink it before passing out and then do the same thing in the morning. I would guess that this is only marginally better than just drinking the water.

Haj
#5
Old 09-22-2004, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hajario
I once saw a hangover cure in a 7-11. It was a packet of powder that mostly contained aspirin and Vitamin C. The instructions said to mix half of the packet in a 16 ounce glass of water and drink it before passing out and then do the same thing in the morning. I would guess that this is only marginally better than just drinking the water.

Haj
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are (big surprise here) STRONGLY ACIDIC . When combined with the corrosive action of alcohol on the lining of the stomach this CANNOT be good. This would be worse than drinking water alone.

In actual fact, a hangover is most likely caused by an electrolyte imbalance, the result of the alcohol in any form (forget "whiskey on beer, all clear"), which turns off the (hold on here) "antidiuretic hormone", encouraging the kidneys to excrete lots of water ("you don't buy beer, you just rent it"). With the loss of water you also lose electrolytes (read: potassium and sodium) and this makes you feel REAL BAD. In addition, the corrosive effect of alcohol on the lining of the stomach can upset your stomach (read: puke).

If you must try something, consider an antacid and Gatorade. Some researchers recommend vitamin B tablets. I'm usually too miserable to find them.
#6
Old 09-22-2004, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRBOB

If you must try something, consider an antacid and Gatorade. Some researchers recommend vitamin B tablets. I'm usually too miserable to find them.
I guess this means that you aren't a friend of Bill W., as Qadgop posted in a previous thread.

Welcome aboard, DR.

You'll be a welcome addition.
#7
Old 09-22-2004, 11:11 PM
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I'm sure everyone is different, but I'll share my recent personal experience with these things:

BF and I went to a Blues and Brews Fest last weekend. We both took Chaser on Saturday (two doses each throughout the day). We both drank a LOT of beer (uh, like, over a 6 pack each, best guess). We both felt fine later, but I have to tell ya, we both had gas...LOL.

Sunday we were still at the festival and only had one dose of the stuff left. I told him to go ahead and finish the things. That night, I was sick as a dog. He felt fine. And both of us drank a lot...he drank more than I, though.

The opinion of these two human guinea pigs? Yes, we would buy the stuff again. But of course, YMMV.
#8
Old 09-22-2004, 11:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Lao
FTR, they aren't OTC drugs. They are dietary supplements and unlike drugs do not need to be tested for effectiveness and safety before being released for sale.
Argh! I meant to type dietary supplement and OTC came out instead.

Cherry2000, I think it's aimed at people drinking more than a 6 pack. Lots of Dopers won't even feel a buzz after 6 beers. Especially if it's at a daylong festival. *hic*
#9
Old 09-22-2004, 11:52 PM
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The stuff actually works...

Read this the other day with interest...

Quote:
The following morning, volunteers who'd taken the extract reported fewer "severe hangovers" than those who'd taken the inert pill did, Wiese and his team report in the June 28 Archives of Internal Medicine. Members of the extract group also had lower blood concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol and of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation. They reported less nausea, dry mouth, and appetite loss but didn't differ from the others in six additional hangover symptoms.

"Some of the classic symptoms"—including headaches and dizziness—"did not show improvement," says epidemiologist James M. Blum of Bangor, Maine. Nevertheless, he adds, "Their results were pretty strong."

Blum's research group was hired by the manufacturer of a competing hangover remedy to test its product, called Chaser. Blum says that Chaser, which contains activated charcoal that binds impurities, also works
From here.

I don't plan on trying it, but good to know.
#10
Old 09-23-2004, 07:37 AM
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If you read the fine print for the Chaser's ads, it says, essentially: "We don't guarantee this works and none of our claims have been tested." On their web page, they say,

Quote:
In independent, double blinded, placebo controlled clinical trials, test subjects showed statistically significant improvements over placebo in 17 hangover categories including headache, nausea and fatigue. After the study, 83 percent of test subjects said they would "recommend the product".
The problem with the first sentence is that it's hard to quantify what is meant by improvement, since it's subjective. And a "statistically significant" difference can be a fairly small one. As for the second claim, you can get that sort of response with any patent medicine. Finally, it's hard to believe in a scientific report that uses "double blinded" instead of "double blind," the standard term.

I'm no expert on hangovers, since I've never had one. (Even the time I got completely blasted on Russian vodka, I woke up drunk, not hung over.) However, since a large part of the problem is dehydration, it makes sense to drink some noncaffeinated liquid (water or fruit juice) before going to bed to prevent that.
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#11
Old 09-23-2004, 09:00 AM
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My wife tried those things a few weeks ago. Didn't work for her. Of course, she was drunker than I had ever seen her (I don't drink anymore due to medical problems)

When I was in college, I used to keep a two quart jar of water in my fridge, when I was drunk, I would down it before going to bed, refill it and put it back in the fridge. About 2 hours later, I would have to pee, so I would down it again, keep going all night. Never had a hangover.
#12
Old 09-23-2004, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odinoneeye
When I was in college, I used to keep a two quart jar of water in my fridge, when I was drunk, I would down it before going to bed, refill it and put it back in the fridge. About 2 hours later, I would have to pee, so I would down it again, keep going all night. Never had a hangover.
Odinoneeye is right on -- water is the magic bullet against hangovers.

When I first started learning to drink alcohol socially, I was prone to massive headaches the morning after a night of drinking. Eventually, through trial and error and a little bit of advice from a fitness magazine, I hit on the idea of taking a Centrum multivitamin and downing about a pint or two of water before I went out to drink. On top of that, while out for a night of drinking, I would begin alternating glasses of water with alcoholic drinks after about the first three or four drinks. When I returned from drinking, I took Maximum Strength Tylenol and another pint or so of water (note: the Tylenol would be ineffective if I didn't drink enough water before and during drinking).

The Centrum provided Vitamin C, the B vitamins, and plenty of potassium and other minerals. How much of a difference the Centrum actually made, I don't know -- but the method above kept me hydrated, and invariably helped me avoid the dread hangover headache.
#13
Old 09-23-2004, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duffer
Argh! I meant to type dietary supplement and OTC came out instead.

Cherry2000, I think it's aimed at people drinking more than a 6 pack. Lots of Dopers won't even feel a buzz after 6 beers. Especially if it's at a daylong festival. *hic*
LOL...maybe I should clarify "6 pack"
...over a six pack of craft beers (some with alcohol contents pushing 12%) consumed at high altitude (about 10,000 feet)
#14
Old 09-23-2004, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
When I returned from drinking, I took Maximum Strength Tylenol
No cite, but I've heard that it's bad for your liver to take Tylenol if you drink.
#15
Old 09-23-2004, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sqweels
No cite, but I've heard that it's bad for your liver to take Tylenol if you drink.
Not to hijack the thread too much, but ...

I hadn't heard anything about the Tylenol-liver damage connection back when I was a regular social drinker. Since then, I have heard that Tyenol somehow promotes liver damage all on its own -- no alcohol required, from what I can gather.

However, I am unclear on the facts. For instance, was it one of those studies where they had to give rats immense doses of acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) to cause even the slightest hint of liver problems? The acetaminophen--liver damage link must presumably take into account dosage amounts, regularity of dosage, and overall length of time taking the drug. On top of that, the studies have to be repeated over and over, and come up with the same findings. How much is known and how much is suspected?

Still in all, one could perhaps take Advil or Motrin -- I don't think it would make a difference to the hangover-prevention method I used.
#16
Old 09-23-2004, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bordelond
Not to hijack the thread too much, but ...

I hadn't heard anything about the Tylenol-liver damage connection back when I was a regular social drinker. Since then, I have heard that Tyenol somehow promotes liver damage all on its own -- no alcohol required, from what I can gather.

However, I am unclear on the facts. For instance, was it one of those studies where they had to give rats immense doses of acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) to cause even the slightest hint of liver problems? The acetaminophen--liver damage link must presumably take into account dosage amounts, regularity of dosage, and overall length of time taking the drug. On top of that, the studies have to be repeated over and over, and come up with the same findings. How much is known and how much is suspected?

Still in all, one could perhaps take Advil or Motrin -- I don't think it would make a difference to the hangover-prevention method I used.
The master on the subject.

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#17
Old 09-23-2004, 11:06 AM
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I should mention that the NIAA article is not specifically on acetaminophen and alcohol, but it does mention it somewhere in the middle, under enviromental factors.
#18
Old 09-23-2004, 11:17 AM
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Good link, bouv -- I found the relevant passage on the NIAA site:

Quote:
Environmental factors.
Chronic alcohol consumption markedly increases the liver toxicity of various industrial solvents, anesthetics, medications, and vitamins (29,30). For example, acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), a widely used over-the-counter pain reliever, is generally safe when taken in recommended doses. However, excessive use of acetaminophen has been associated with liver toxicity in people drinking heavily (30-32). Alcohol also enhances the toxicity of excess vitamin A, so care must be taken when treating an alcoholic with a vitamin A deficiency (33). (my bolding)
That leads me to believe that I was totally in the clear taking a single dose of Tylenol after a night of drinking. I wasn't downing a handful of pills -- thanks to hydrating thoughout the night, I wasn't feeling bad when I got home from drinking. The Tylenol was taken as a preventative, and there was no impetus to overdose.
#19
Old 09-23-2004, 11:36 AM
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I won some "Chaser" off the radio a while back. I lost the things before I could use them, but I did read the instructions. They said to take two of the pills with 8 oz water before you started drinking; after every alcoholic drink have another 8 oz water; after every two alcoholic drinks have another pill with 8 oz water.
So, drink a metric assload of water, and you won't be hung over. Duh. If the product does anything, I'd guess it just acts as a reminder to drink more water.
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