50 years ago, a ‘cure’ for intoxication showed promise

Excerpt from the November 18, 1972 issue of Science News

Several people hold up glasses of beer in a cheers motion

Scientists are still searching for remedies that will actually sober people up and fend off hangovers after a night of drinking.

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A get-sober pill? Science News, November 18, 1972

Researchers at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital have been able to reduce intoxication time in rats by administrating harmless chemicals…. Injections of vitamin B3, and vitamin B5 with cystine, were successful… Glyceraldehyde, however, was effective when ingested and sodium acetate (still untested orally) is expected to be even more effective.


Inebriation and the dreaded hangover that follows still don’t have cures — but scientists haven’t stopped searching. A compound in the seeds of Japanese raisin trees appeared to fend off drunkenness in rats and sober them up (SN: 1/4/12), but follow-up research found no effect. Remedies that have worked in rodents have not yet led to treatments for people.

In July, an antihangover supplement became available in the United Kingdom and may soon appear in U.S. stores. The Swedish company that makes this probiotic pill, Myrkle (pronounced “miracle”), claims that it can break down 70 percent of the alcohol in a person’s system in one hour. But the claim is based on a single study conducted by the company.  

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