Would You Use An IV Drip To Cure A Hangover?

At-home IV hydration: See ya never, hangovers.
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At-home IV hydration: See ya never, hangovers.

My condition was a tad rough on Sunday morning. I drank a bit too much on Saturday night, and I was also crummy with a cold and muscle achy from an earlier work out. A trifecta of lousy. 

So, in the name of science (and the need for rehydration), I had Dr. Adam Nadelson, co-founder of The IV Doctor, which offers at-home IV hydration treatments, come to my apartment, stick me with a needle, and hook me to an IV drip. Sweet, sweet relief.

The IV Doctor's treatments are touted as a private, luxury hangover cure. Dr. Nadelson and his father, Dr. Elliot Nadelson, began offering their services in New York City earlier this year, and they've since branched out into the Hamptons (seasonal service only, of course), Chicago, and LA. (Dr. Nadelson said that they are moving into San Francisco in the next couple of weeks.) 

What They Treat

Dr. Nadelson confirmed that they treat individuals suffering from hangovers, sure, but they also treat those suffering from food poisoning, jet lag, and exhaustion, as well as those with rare and severe medical concerns. He explained that individuals in a dehydrated state are so depleted of energy that leaving the house can become a daunting, painful production.

Dehydration can cause dry skin, sunken eyes, dizziness, headaches, confusion, and in severe cases, death. With regard to hangovers, he explained, alcohol consumption inhibits the productions of a hormone produced in the pituitary gland called Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH). This hormone regulates the reabsorption of water by the kidneys. So when ADH is not produced, you urinate more and your body becomes unbalanced, or dehydrated. And then you wake up feeling like a crusty booger with dark, personal regrets, you are now an adult. Welcome.

How the Process Works

The IV Doctor's business model is a hybrid of new school convenience crossed with old school house calls. A patient can put in an order online from the IV Doctor’s website, indicating the level of symptoms through a sliding scale of discomfort, the patient's location, and preferred time of service. Once the order is placed a personalized, reassuring text is sent to the patient:

the iv doctor

You then call and speak with a nurse practitioner who takes a standard health assessment: 

“Are you on any medications currently?” 

“When was your last period?” 

“Do you have any history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, or asthma?” 

“Are you in generally good health? Can you go up a few flights of stairs without getting winded?” 

A doctor reviews the assessment, and a nurse nearest to the patient’s location then accepts the call, like an Uber-style business model, but for healthcare professionals and lushes, like moi, for instance.

What Happens When They Show Up

the iv doctor tools

The doctor is in

In my case, Dr. Nadelson himself took the call. He rolled a suitcase into my apartment and unloaded his portable clinic. He set up shop, laying out vials, gauze, needles, latex gloves, and bags of IV fluids. He asked about my symptoms and confirmed the medical history I had given over the phone earlier. And he clearly laid out what was going to be included in my IV drip and why. My medical recipe was:

Vitamin C and Zinc: for my cold

Vitamin B: for energy

Toradol: anti-inflammatory for my muscle aches

1,000ml lactated ringers, saline: for hydration

the iv doctor

This is the potion to get me in motion.

iv in arm

Me, not looking.

He hooked a bright-yellow bag of fluids to an IV stand and tied the tourniquet around my upper arm. After a good vein was found, he inserted the needle and I took it like a true champion--by looking away and covering my eyes. The drip began, and as the bag drained, I noticed a steady increase in energy and mood. My cognitive functions became sharper and more alert. I was told my skin was plump and glowing. I was laughing, again. Everything was going to be alright after all.

after the iv doctor

Ready for the day!

How I Felt Afterward

This method was 100% more effective than what any greasy brunch, Gatorade, coffee/water chugging combo could ever do. Interestingly, I felt way better than I do on a morning when I wake up dead sober from a night of TV binge watching and chamomile tea drinking. Most people report going from a level 2 to a level 7--on a scale from 1 ("I'm on my deathbed") to 10 ("I'm Feeling Great"). My results were good; I went from from a 3-4 to a definite 10. 

But let's be clear: This kind of service is a luxury, ranging around $200 per session--one I would love to have on the regular, but could never justify. It's reserved for those with expendable income, the work hard/play harder wolves of Wall Street-types, or those who know they will need the treatment dearly after certain special events (bachelorette parties, marathon runners). I was a tourist for one hour in the life of the fabulous, and I would definitely like to visit again sometime.

  • What's your go-to hangover cure? 
  • Have you ever tried anything like this? Would you?