Nick Nowak, PharmD, BCPS, adjunct pharmacy faculty member and compounding pharmacist, developed a product to alleviate the symptoms of a hangover, The Hangover Secret. Pacific students and faculty performed a clinical trial of this novel product and noted a clinically meaningful benefit in hangover symptoms.
As a student, Dr. Nowak tried multiple products and natural remedies to relieve a hangover, but they had minimal effect. “I became obsessed with creating something that actually works and contains quality ingredients,” said Dr. Nowak. “Using my background in pharmacotherapy, my passion for entrepreneurship and the most up-to-date scientific literature, I continuously fine-tuned the formula. With no reliable product on the market, people tend to have their own hangover secret with varying degrees of efficacy. My focus was to create the trusted Hangover Secret, which is grounded in science and happens to be in easy to carry packets. Nearly a decade later, The Hangover Secret can be found on Amazon and Hangoversecret.com.”
The clinical trial was led by Pacific students and faculty from the innovative Clinical and Outcomes Research (iCOR) lab at the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The team conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to determine if The Hangover Secret showed any activity in treating hangovers. During the trial the amount of sleep, as well as the amount of water, food and alcohol consumed by the nine participants, was controlled to the greatest extent possible. Measurements were taken before alcohol consumption and the morning after using clinically validated tools; including the Blood Alcohol Concentration test, the Acute Hangover Scale and the Alcohol Hangover Severity Scale. The Hangover Secret demonstrated a meaningful reduction in hangover symptom severity, but did not reach statistical significance due to the small sample size.
“Our medical experts approached hangovers from a holistic perspective,” Dr. Nowak said. “The Hangover Secret’s powder is a mix of milk thistle, N-acetylcysteine, electrolytes, B vitamins and antioxidant super blend. The mix is designed to boost liver function, normalize electrolyte imbalances and replenish vitamins lost from alcohol consumption.”
Pacific alumnus Sheel Patel ’19, PharmD, co-primary investigator, said, “Independent of the validated tools we used, there were visible improvements in participants’ symptoms and behavior some mornings after. After being unblinded, we found that most of those mornings were after consuming The Hangover Secret.” Co-primary investigator Der Yu Wang ’19, PharmD said, “We are on to something as this was a well-designed, placebo-controlled clinical trial. We only have supportive care to help with hangovers and I believe this is the product that people are looking for.”
Drs. Patel and Wang, post-doctoral fellows at University of North Carolina and Acerta Pharma B.V. respectively, started their industry careers as members of the iCOR lab. The iCOR lab aims to contribute meaningful evidence that moves health care forward while giving students the tools they need to conduct innovative studies. Their research was presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Conference 2018 Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition in Anaheim.
Also contributing to the study were Sachin A. Shah, PharmD, FAHA, professor of pharmacy practice and director of the iCOR lab, Kimberly Maiton ’17, PharmD, adjunct faculty and Fellowship in Industry Program fellow, Kate O’Dell, PharmD, professor of pharmacy practice, and Nancy N. Nguyen, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVP, FCSHP, clinical professor of pharmacy practice and regional coordinator for Palo Alto.
By Kevin Pham ’20