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32 hangover remedies offer to halt that headache

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There's no cure for the common cold, but just in time for New Year's, marketers are peddling new twists on over-the-counter remedies for the common hangover.

Some 32 hangover remedy products -- from Chaser to Rebound -- have flooded the U.S. market in the past five years, reports Mintel Group, which tracks new products. One is evolving from pill to liquid form and will be sold at bars in shot glasses. ''Consumers are looking for a magic bullet to offset the effects of overindulging,'' says Lynn Dornblaser, director of consulting services at Mintel.

Most hangover remedies are made from mineral supplements touted for their ability to help metabolize toxins from excess alcohol consumption. Some can help lessen nausea or headaches common to hangovers, but none can reduce intoxication levels.

Some might be more hype than help.

These supplements do not receive the same level of scrutiny as prescription drugs by the Food and Drug Administration, says Daniel Buffington, who teaches pharmacology at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, who is familiar with the supplement category. Overall sales numbers for the category could not be determined.

''It's definitely buyer beware,'' Buffington says. ''There's been a proliferation of these things.''

* Chaser. It's the big kahuna of the category. Unlike most rivals, Chaser is sold everywhere from Wal-Mart to CVS. It just introduced a day-after hangover relief version called Chaser Plus.

Chaser will tally 20% of annual sales in December, says Tom Morse, president of Living Essentials, manufacturer of the supplement. A box of 10 caplets retails for about $5.99. The company recommends taking one pill with the first drink and two more every two to four hours of drinking.

* Rebound. The maker is about to market a liquid hangover remedy sold at bars in shot glasses.

''We're focusing on putting the product where the drinkers are,'' says Patrick Cochrane, CEO of Dynamarketing Group. It will typically sell for about $1.50 per glass. Some Las Vegas bars are testing the shot-glass version, he says.

* Alcodol. The Australian-made supplement was introduced domestically this year. A box of eight capsules fetches $7.99.

* Hangover Helper. The British-made product, sold in the USA, is an aromatherapy inhaler made to reduce hangover side effects.

Even a bottled water is trying to get into the act. Fiji Water is not sold as a hangover remedy. But executives say it can help prevent hangovers by flushing out toxins.

After partying on New Year's Eve, the best medicine might be to simply drink a liter of water before hitting the hay, says Killeen Brettmann, director of marketing.

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© Copyright 2004 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.


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