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Soon You Can Get Some Hangover Pills, They Work on Mice


According to George Bernard Shaw, alcohol is “the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.” But as we all know, too much of it results in a cracking hangover the next day.

Between 8 to 10% of emergency room visits in the US are due to acute alcohol poisoning. Alcohol abuse leads to serious health problems, including cardiovascular and liver cancer.

However, a team of scientists in the US may have taken a step forward in developing a “hangover pill” that could cure the indulgences of the night before.

That’s the gist of an essay from ‘The Conversation’, by Yunfeng Lu who is a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles in the US.

In it, Lu recounts how he and some colleagues used natural enzymes found in liver cells to help the body process alcohol faster. “Inspired by the body’s approach for breaking down alcohol, we chose three natural enzymes that convert alcohol into harmless molecules that are then excreted,” the professor explained.

“That might sound simple because these enzymes were not new, but the tricky part was to figure out a safe, effective way to deliver them to the liver.” The team then wrapped the enzymes in a shell that had been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in pills and injected them into the veins of drunk mice.

The capsules were tiny — they are described as ‘nanocapsules’ so it wasn’t hard to put them into the mice, but apparently, the results turned out to be positive.

“We showed that in inebriated mice (which fall asleep much faster than drunk humans), the treatment decreased the blood alcohol level by 45% in just four hours compared to mice that didn’t receive any,” Lu wrote.

The professor also added that the blood concentration of acetaldehyde — a highly toxic compound that is carcinogenic, causes headaches and vomiting and is produced during the normal alcohol metabolism — remained extremely low. The mice that were given the drug woke from their alcohol-induced slumber faster than their untreated counterparts. Currently, the team is conducting further tests to make sure that the pills don’t trigger any strange side effects.

Potentially, it could begin testing on humans in 12 months’ time.
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