Hangover cure accused of ‘bringing the medical profession into disrepute’


We all know that when you’re really sick and you have to go to hospital – like maybe you’ve had salmonella or something life-threating like that – the nurses will hook you up to a bag of saline solution to rehydrate you. They might even put in some antibiotics, or other stuff that doctors know about to make you better.

But the buzz around IV these days is outside the hospital wards. It’s being touted as a revolution in curing a hangover and IV Clinics are popping up in super hip locations globally. The latest one to land in the inbox at Australianbartender.com.au is in Bali. Now, I don’t know about you but I’m a bit of a needle-phobe in the first place and needles in Bali are not top of my bucket list. With that in mind, I’m not sure that I’d be signing up to get jabbed with a Super Myers Cocktail for 30 minutes of hydration, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Collagen, Vitamin A, E & D3, Folic Acid, Glutathione, and Biotin for a cool $130. All that just because I slammed down a few too many tequilas at Mexicola. Oh, and apparently it helps with your wrinkles too.

These IV Clinics having been popping up around Australia lately as well and not without some scandal. In February this year, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Sydney branch of iv.me was closed after a client was hospitalised at St. Vincents.

And it’s not just the safety that has been called into question. There are many in the medical field who claim there is no evidence to suggest it helps with hangovers at all. In the story on SMH, National AMA vice-president Stephen Parnis accused those behind the IV infusion trend of “bringing the medical profession into disrepute”.


“You have a duty to act with expertise,” he said. “Ethically and morally, you need to do the right thing at the exclusion of any other interest, commercial or otherwise. And … you need to offer things that are effective. There is no evidence of benefit here whatsoever.”

Further to that, there is growing evidence to suggest that hangovers actually have very little to do with dehydration. A Dutch study released in late 2015 found that drinking a glass of water between drinks has very little impact on your hangover. And the only real way to prevent the smashing headache and seasick feeling is to drink less.

News.com.au also reported on these efficacy of these IV Clinics late last year, interviewing Professor Kypros Kypri, from the University of Newcastle.

Professor Kypri cited recent evidence that indicates hangovers might actually be caused by a toxic compound produced by our own bodies when we metabolise alcohol, and not dehydration. This compound, he said, is called acetaldehyde.

According to the Smithsonian.com acetaldehyde is estimated to be between 10 and 30 times as toxic as alcohol and in controlled studies, has been found to cause symptoms such as sweating, skin flushing, nausea and vomiting.

But back to the IV Clinics. The local offerings in Sydney and Melbourne can set you back up to $250 per session. The Hangover Clinic in Sydney also offers packages called ‘Jetlag Crusher’ and ‘Sports Recovery’ so it’s not just about the excess consumption. But the burning question is, what will you do? Next time you wake up with a dry mouth, a splitting headache and sea legs? Will you splash out some hard earned cash on IV rehydration at a local clinic or will you reach for the Nurofen and a greasy burger? I know my answer.

Click here to read the full story on the closure of the Sydney branch of iv.me.
Click here to read the full story about what causes hangovers.
Click here for your complete guide to the science of hangovers.

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