The Morning After
Pop a Painkiller
Why it works: Alcohol increases the body’s production of chemicals called prostaglandins, key players in causing a pounding head and an aching body. Over-the-counter painkillers block enzymes that produce those chemicals, says John Brick, Ph.D., an alcohol researcher and the executive director of Intoxikon International, a biomedical-education consulting company in Yardley, Pennsylvania.
Plan of attack: At night and in the morning, opt for ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), or aspirin. Steer clear of acetaminophen (Tylenol): “It’s safe on its own, but pairing it with a liver that’s already working overtime to process alcohol can raise the risk for damage,” says Aaron Michelfelder, a professor of family medicine at Loyola University Medical Center, in Chicago. Be cautious about “migraine formula” products, which pair pain meds with caffeine, a stimulant that can dissipate headaches in some people but do the opposite in others.