When you drink heavily, you never know where the night will take you—to a fantastic party, karaoke ignominy on Youtube, oblivion. You only know that when you wake up, you may be missing your cell phone and one or more eyebrows, and you’ll probably feel like Wile E. Coyote’s anvil has fallen on your head. Or wish it had.
Those fortunate enough to have gone to medical school have long possessed a secret weapon against hangovers. And like locals protecting secret powder stashes, they have mostly kept this cure to themselves. When Dr. Scott Brandt was an anesthesiology resident at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, for example, he recalls that his MD friends would sometimes hook themselves up, after a night carousing on Rush Street, to intravenous bags of saline, a fluid that ameliorates one of the primary hangover causes: dehydration.
Twenty years later, Brandt is offering the therapy (which he calls “Hangover Healer,” along with a line of other IV-based curatives) to the public at ThriveMD, his Edwards-based regenerative medicine practice. And he also makes house calls. For an extra fee, a ThriveMD doctor or nurse will race to your condo, hotel room, or wherever you found yourself when you woke up. There, they’ll check your vitals and administer a bag of fluid fortified with B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, calcium, an anti-nausea medicine called Zofran, and a painkilling, anti-inflammatory drug called Toradol. While the remedy has yet to be peer-reviewed in medical journals, Brandt and others swear it works. And fast.
“Everyone wants a quick fix, and it’s an excellent quick fix,” he says. “Within 30 minutes, people can go from not wanting to get up to being on the slopes.”
Want a second opinion? Ask Kyle McLoone, lead paramedic and chief medical officer at Dr. Drip, a Denver-based intravenous vitamin-therapy provider marketing a similar IV hangover remedy that promises to “help you feel human again and get you ready for that happy hour.” After quaffing beers for the sake of science, McLoone tested it on himself.
“It fixed me right up,” he swears.
This isn’t just a ski-country trend. There are hangover “lounges” in Sarasota and Tampa with fat chairs and IV drips. A clinic in Miami tosses anti-aging meds into the mix. In Manhattan, an IV drip company called the Hangover Club dispatches a Hangover Bus to bars that’s equipped with plush leather couches, IV bags dangling from a ceiling rail in place of straphangers, and flat-panel TVs playing, of course, The Hangover.
Just keep one thing in mind. Whether your intravenous hair-of-the-dog is Dr. Drip or Hangover Healer, no treatment will erase last night’s shame.