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Caffeine and Anti-inflammatories Help Hangover Headache

Caffeine and anti-inflammatories may be the best cure for a hangover-induced headache, particularly for migraineurs whose headaches are triggered by low doses of alcohol. Professor Michael Oshinsky, of the Jefferson Headache Center at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, induced headaches in rodents by injecting them with small doses of ethanol (about the equivalent of one alcoholic drink in humans). Like alcoholic drinks, ethanol produces acetate in the body when it is metabolized.

“People in the past thought acetate was innocuous because you have high levels of it in your body to begin with,” said Oshinsky in an interview with theToronto Star.

According to his findings, however, acetate can bring on headaches even in low doses. Four to six hours after the rats were given ethanol, the skin around their eyes became sensitive to touch, a sign they had a headache. Dehydration, which is often claimed as the cause of hangover, was not a factor.

The solution, Oshinsky found, was a combination of caffeine and anti-inflammatories, which block the acetate. Oshinsky suggests taking the combination four hours after drinking, when acetate levels begin to spike.

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