Daily Archives: 02/02/2015

The restorative IV drip: a hangover cure from ‘the dawn of ages’

So it’s the second of February which means many Dry January abstainers probably went on the biggest bender last night to ‘Retox’ after their month of good behaviour.  Unless they couldn’t wait and had a drink at the bell of midnight last night!  A month off is still a month off and congratulations to all of those who took part and raised money for Cancer Research or Alcohol Concern 🙂

However you might be needing one of these this morning if you ‘retoxed’ successfully!  This article appeared at the end of last year and was discussing a restorative IV drip as a hangover cure from ‘the dawn of ages’ in reference to what med students used to do to self-manage over-indulgence using resources and knowledge at their disposal.  This is not a new idea as I talked about the Hangover bus here

A new trend has seen companies springing up to intravenously inject the stricken with an IV bag packed with vitamins and medications.  Now this isn’t the first time I’ve discussed this as last year we saw the launch of the Hangover Bus in Las Vegas which you can read about here.  But this business opportunity continues to grow it would seem.

The IV Doc, which offers its intravenous fluids in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, is perhaps becoming the best known.  Launched in December 2013, it has treated “thousands” of people in its first year, according to CEO Adam Nadelson, who said the idea is based on “something that residents have been doing since the dawn of ages”.

Nadelson said that trainee physicians would often be on call at a hospital round-the-clock when completing their residency. They might only get a small, say six-hour, window to go and let off steam.  “For those six hours you didn’t sleep you went out and had fun with your friends. The next morning you were back on point 100%. A nurse would stick a small IV, get you hydrated back up and you were good to go.”  Now, however, one needs not commit to seven years medical training to feel that kind of sweet relief.

For between $199 and $250 anyone – that is, anyone who can afford to spend between $199 and $250 curing a hangover – can have the company send round medical personnel with their bulging bags of fluid.

Although the IV Doc website is keen to stress that they offer their drips for other things too – like general dehydration and food poisoning – Nadelson says most people call them for hangover treatment. The majority of customers, he says, are “affluent”.

“They’re hard-working individuals,” Nadelson explained. “They don’t have even a moment to step away from their busy schedules, have a few glasses of water and allow themselves to recuperate.  They’re literally flying from California to Texas to New York and in-between them flying back to California they’re stopping off with us because they just feel horrible.  They’re picking up clients at night, they’re trying to sell to them the next morning,” Nadelson continued.

“They’re busy. Busy, busy, busy. It’s time-sensitive to get to these meetings. And the service we provide, hopefully we can get to them within two hours’ notice.”

Unable to quite recreate this high-flying, fast-paced dynamic, this reporter instead drank a large quantity of alcohol over a short space of time, then summoned the IV Doc the next morning.

For $250, I received two bags of fluid – the ‘Revive’ package, which is billed as “for deathbed relief”. The solution contains:

  • 130 mEq of sodium ion
  • 109 mEq of chloride ion
  • 28 mEq of lactate (pH balancer)
  • 4 mEq of potassium ion
  • 3 mEq of calium ion
  • Famotidine, a histamine H2-receptor antagonist that inhibits stomach acid production.
  • Odansetron, a serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist used to prevent nausea
  • Ketorolac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug

“Alcohol inhibits the body’s anti-diuretic hormones, which help you absorb water from fluids. When those ADH levels drop, instead of taking water in, the body wants to push it out via a bodily function you should be familiar with,” Nadelson said.  “But after drinking a beer, not only does that full fluid volume pass right through the body, existing H20 gets drawn out along with it. One drink = twice the urine. That’s why an IV drip rehydrates on a level way beyond downing a before-bed desperation glass of water.”

I don’t know about you but that’s one expensive hangover cure!!  Not too dissimilar from the one’s we used to self-medicate with on the wards where I worked as a nurse.  Paracetamol for headache, ibruprofen for anti-inflammatory (but not an empty stomach as causes gastric grazing so with a glass of milk), anti-emetic tablet for nausea and gallons of water, orange juice and tea serving as the re-hydrator with buttered toast as the soaker up of booze with carbs.  Much less expensive but probably not as quick! 😉

Joking aside – this cure may fix the symptoms of the beating your liver took but there will be underlying damage of a cumulative nature if you keep relying on this solution to manage drinking to excess for you.  The ‘deathbed relief’ solution suggests you should maybe looking at your drinking instead ………

Would you pay for this?