Pedialyte May Be The Cure For The Common Hangover
October 14, 2013

Pedialyte May Be The Cure For The Common Hangover

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

Medically speaking, a hangover is little more than a case of dehydration. After a night of imbibing, the body can feel it is running low on essential fluids and nutrients and therefore run sluggishly. While there may be some remaining alcohol byproducts left in the system to be flushed out naturally, it would make sense to combat dehydration symptoms, at least in part, by taking in plenty of fluids.

At least, that’s the thought behind the actions of some young adults in Chicago, where it’s reported sales figures of the children's' electrolyte-filled drink, Pedialyte, have been skyrocketing. A story by a Chicago news blog cites sources -- a grocery delivery service, a market research firm and even an analyst from the company that produces the children's drink -- that claim drinking Pedialyte after a night of chugging beers is the latest craze among college-aged adults.

Foxtrot, an app-based grocery delivery service available in Chicago, says they’ve been seeing an uptick in the number of requests for Pedialyte to be delivered to the doors of many young adults.

“When I came to [University of Chicago’s] Booth to start business school, I noticed that everybody talked about it, or had it in their fridge,” said Brian Jaffee, Foxtrot’s co-founder in an interview with Chicago Grid.

“It’s super prevalent. I’ve noticed that it’s really gotten even more popular over the last twelve months. It went from like a funny thing to talk about to the norm. Almost everybody uses it,” Jaffee said.

Market Research firm IRI has also noted an increase in “demand” for the children's drink; according to its numbers, sales of Pedialyte increased by 16 percent in August over the same period in 2012. This is even more notable considering sales numbers are usually flat. In fact, in 2011, year-over-year sales had fallen.

Debbie Wang, an analyst for Morningstar who covers Pedialyte maker Abbot Laboratories, said this 16 percent increase is also interesting because the product has been on store shelves for many years.

“That’s a pretty noteworthy increase for a category that tends to be fairly mature,” said Wang, noting these kinds of increases can normally be attributed to setbacks faced by a main competitor. Yet the firm's number one rival, Mead Johnson, has not seen its sales numbers decrease during the same time period, nor has there been an increase in the number of babies born in a given year.

A link between increased sales and hungover college students seems purely anecdotal, but one folk musician could be responsible for turning the trend into a growing craze.

“Pedialyte, that’s what you need,” suggested Jason Isbell in a May interview with the New York Times.

“It’s the stuff you give kids who are dehydrated from diarrhea. It’s like 10 Gatorades in one bottle,” said Isbell, a recovering alcoholic, who played in the band Drive-by-Truckers before striking off on his own as a solo act.

Slate asked a medical professor if Pedialyte as a hangover cure is effective or the stuff of urban myths?

“There’s nothing you can do to remove the alcohol byproducts. They have to be metabolized by your liver, which takes time. There’s no evidence that anything is better than waiting,” said Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.