A Vegas doctor’s quest to cure the common hangover
Burke set up an IV bag in his office and inserted a catheter into his foot. “That’s really the only place that’s easy to start an IV on yourself,” he says. “I let probably 300 or 400 cc’s of fluid in.” The hydration offered some relief, but not enough to declare victory over his hangover. “I said, ‘OK, it’s time to put the drugs in. Let’s see what’s going to happen with this.’”
First, he added Zofran, an anti-nausea medicine. “After about 10 minutes, the nausea started melting away.” Then, he added Toradol. “When I get hangovers, it feels like there’s a vice on my head.” The impact of the Toradol was dramatic, however. “Literally, within three minutes, it was like someone had unscrewed the vice. I was like, ‘Good God, I can’t believe I’ve been suffering all these years when I could have been done with it in 30 minutes.”
Burke found this breakthrough both exciting and unsettling. Nature is a vengeful god, and hangovers are often characterized as a natural law of sorts, the body’s expression of its preference for temperance. Without hangovers as penance, would Burke lose all sense of restraint at his wine dinners? “Anesthesiologists have issues with drug abuse,” he notes. “When I was a resident, there were two residents that had to go into rehab for abusing medication — because you’re sitting there with all these narcotics around you, all these extremely powerful narcotics. So it was like, ‘Is this really a road I want to go down, treating myself with IV medication?’”
At the same time, a hangover that once would have kept him dragging for 10 to 12 hours could be largely vanquished within 45 minutes. On an individual basis, this was a pretty big deal. Writ globally, it was huge.