Two San Diego companies got a letter from the FDA warning them to stop selling their "hangover cures." The letter says their claims about these supplements are unproven and the products could have unknown side effects. Doctors say we should be careful about what supplements we take.
"There's very little regulation or oversight, especially by federal authorities," said Dr. Lee Cantrell, director of the San Diego Division of California's Poison Control System. "People consider dietary supplements and drugs as the same thing and they are absolutely not."
One product the FDA warned about is "PartyPal" which was sold by San Diego-based Ebnsol. In a statement to NBC 7 Responds, the company said it already stopped selling the product.
"PartyPal was a great natural ingredient based product but we haven’t offered it for sale since 2019 and we currently don’t have any intentions on offering it at this time," read the statement. "Should that change we would have our FDA counsel review our internet marketing copy."
The marketing is usually what causes issues for these supplements. Cantrell says some companies are making unproven claims.
"These people are making either false claims or ones that these products can in no way actually achieve," Cantrell said. "There absolutely is no scientific support that anything other than abstinence or moderation prevents hangovers."
NBC 7 Responds reached out to the second local company which received a warning letter from the FDA. As of Friday afternoon, Purple Biosciences LLC had not responded to our request.
Cantrell has seen some advertisements for hangover cures that claim you cannot get drunk while taking them. He says claims like these are especially dangerous.
"Some of them state they prevent you from getting intoxicated," Cantrell said. "To me, that's very scary because you have someone going to go out and drinking in excess and potentially poisoning themselves."
This isn't to say all supplements are bad. Cantrell says supplements can be an important part of our routine. For instance, he says he takes vitamins and fish oil.
"Dietary supplements are meant to support your normal dietary habits," Cantrell said. "But there are certain people out there, I'm fully convinced, that it's only for the money and they don't care at all about helping people."
If you are interested in taking a supplement, Cantrell says you should do your research.
"I would discourage anybody from taking any product that does not have a good body of science behind it," Cantrell said. "Where manufacturers cross the line is that they start making claims about diseases."