In the past, we’ve talked about various hangover solutions, from Ancient Egyptian lore to hair of the dog. While old wives’ tales and experiments are great for when you’re feeling a little zonked after a night out, when you’re really hungover only one solution works best: medicine.
When it comes to medicating your booze fueled blitz, the only problem is too many options. Walking into a drugstore can feel like wandering through a Vegas buffet, only instead of food your selection is pills, and you’re in a state of incredible discomfort. It’s hard to think about which medication will work best when you’re in pain.
Because VinePair feels your pain, we’ve done the work for you and compiled this comprehensive guide that will lead you toward the best hangover medicine for you. Sit back, get a tall glass of water and some greasy food, and read on. Note: these are just our opinions and not medical advice, as we are booze geeks, not doctors.
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Active Ingredient: Ibuprofen
Price Estimate: $17 for 200 (200mg) tablets
Rating: * *
Advil is a great for taking away hangover headaches, and the pills are nice and small. But with that tiny size comes a downside: when was the last time you took the recommended dosage of Advil – 1-2 tablets – and found yourself feeling better? Despite its promise, plenty of people take 3-4 tablets to really feel good as new. Moreover, Advil wears off after 4-6 hours, so most people will have to keep taking more pills, all the way from the foggy morning into the evening. However, one upside is that Advil tablets are sugar coated.
2. Tylenol Extra Strength
Active Ingredient: Acetaminophen
Price Estimate: $14 for 100 (500mg) tablets
Extra Strength? More like extra disappointment. Tylenol is good for one thing and one thing only: colds. Tylenol PM is a clear winner over Advil PM when it comes to getting rest while congested (seriously, take Advil PM and you’ll stay awake). However, Tylenol Extra Strength is simply a hangover cure lightweight. Despite the lofty, large pills, your headache is bound to linger. Stick to the Tylenol family when you have a stuffy nose.
3. Aleve Liquid Gels
Active Ingredient: Naproxen
Price Estimate: $15 for 80 (220 mg) gel tablets
Rating: * * * * *
Unlike Tylenol and Advil, 1-2 Aleve tablets can seriously last you a good 12-24 hours. Another Aleve positive is that in addition to providing headache relief, we’ve personally found that although not advertised, the gels can lessen nausea as well. Additionally, Aleve is also said to carry less heart and liver risks than Advil and Tylenol. While you can buy Aleve as a solid tablet, if you hate taking pills, you might prefer the liquid gels.
5. Excedrin Extra Strength
Active Ingredients: Aspirin/Acetaminophen/Caffeine
Price Estimate: $15 for 200 tablets
Rating: * * *
We knew Excedrin as a college favorite, because it combines pain relief with a burst of caffeine – perfect for banging out a term paper on Sunday after partying too hard on Saturday night. In other words, taking Excedrin is like ingesting the famous hangover-cure combo of coffee and aspirin. While caffeine in your painkillers might seem ideal, be wary. Your headache might go away and the caffeine could give you a burst of mental clarity, but if you’re having nausea you might feel sicker. Caffeine can exacerbate that queasy feeling (though we’re sure some people will report the opposite, and there’s less caffeine in a tablet of Excedrin that there is in a cup of coffee). The aspirin/acetaminophen combination also could hurt your stomach, although that’s really more pertinent if you’re a regular heavy drinker, in which case, you should not be taking our advice. Still, despite the downsides, if you’re really looking to take a morning run, Excedrin could be a good solution.
5. Blowfish For Hangovers
Active Ingredients: Aspirin/Caffeine
Price Estimate: $12 for 12 tablets
Rating: * * * 1/2 *
Blowfish is interesting, because it’s specifically advertised as a cure for hangovers, the reason behind this being that, much like Excedrin, the aspirin helps with pain, while the caffeine makes you alert. Blowfish also dissolves in water, which is a big plus for those of us who are averse to pill popping. Because it’s a liquid, it’s said to work quicker than, say its cousin, Excedrin. There are some drawbacks, though. Like Excedrin, the caffeine/aspirin combo could make you feel pukey. Another thing to consider is that Blowfish is quite expensive: $12 for 6 hangovers (2 tablets a dose) as opposed to Aleve’s $15 for 40-80 hangovers. Blowfish does smell pretty good, though, and it doesn’t taste half bad. Also, the packaging is cute – a potential bright spot on an otherwise very upsetting morning.
When it comes to hangover management, make sure you space out the time between booze and pill consumption – in other words, don’t take pain killers with alcohol still in your system! Consult your doctor to figure out which medication is safest for you. Also, drink plenty of water to go along with it!