back to article Boffins invent miracle pill that counteracts effects of booze

Biology boffins have turned their hand to something useful: a pill to stop you acting drunk no matter how many pints you put away. It's your mutinous immune system that gives you that sozzled feeling after a boozy session, scientists claim in a paper published today in the British Journal of Pharmacology. Conk out certain …


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  1. Nick Gisburne


    Now ugly people will no longer get laid, or at least not above their own league. This is not progress. At least not for ugly people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dunno, it means you ugly buggers will eventually be worked out of the gene pool..

      1. relpy


        No, ugly won't be bred out of the gene pool - beautiful people will become more beautiful, and us ugly sods will get more and more ugly. And there are more ugly people around than beautiful people.

        So I say to you beautiful people - if you don't want to be surrounded by more and more increasingly hideous people - act now - shag someone ugly today!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          not always true

          neither me or the wife are esp. beautiful. but we have managed to have gorgeous children (who may grow up up Ugly who knows!)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            But you'd think ugliness was recessive

            I'd insist on paternity testing if I were you.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    Get drunk or catch a cold ?

    Interesting choice -- could you take a pill to knock out the TLR4s when you leave the pub to dive home ? I wonder what PC Plod will have to say about this ?

    1. Steve Evans

      They'd still say you're nicked as you will still fail a blood and breath test.

    2. Remy Redert

      re: Get drunk or catch a cold

      Once this stuff because well known and well researched enough, it might eventually become accepted. Especially if we can make it work reliably and quickly.

      Start with applying it to addicts and overdosers, then gradually expand its use from there once we have a good handle on any side effects and risks associated with the meds.

      1. Steve Evans

        @Remy Redert

        I don't think the magic pill is really going to help addicts and overdosers. Addicts don't keep drinking to avoid the hangover, they're generally trying to escape something else, and you could still overdose, in fact maybe more so. This drug only stops the effect of the drug on the brain, your kidneys and liver will still have to sort out all the crap you've tipped down your throat.

        Evolution gave us pain because the human body doesn't come with a user manual.

    3. Scorchio!!
      Thumb Up

      Re: Get drunk or catch a cold ?

      Dunno, but I can bring to mind an old saying "I haven't had a c#nt, Drinkstable." (Edited for the benefit of any onlooking PC twits.)

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Whats the point in getting drunk then?

    1. Greg J Preece

      Has there ever been one? I often enjoy a drink, but I've never enjoyed being drunk.

      1. Willington

        I half agree. I enjoy getting drunk but I don't really enjoy being drunk.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        It is poison you know...

        > Has there ever been one? I often enjoy a drink, but I've never enjoyed being drunk.

        Yes, there is a very important reason to "be drunk".

        It lets you know that if you don't let up then you will get alchohol poisoning and DIE.

        Having some sort of adverse reaction ingesting a poison is not a bad thing really.

    2. relpy

      Ask a glass of water?


      1. Olafthemighty

        @ relpy

        +3 Internets for sneaking H2G2 in there.

        <- and a beverage of your choosing.

        Picture for advertising purposes only: actual drink may vary from that shown.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm, so produce more cytokine and get drunker ... let's have a pill for that too.

    Pills to quickly toggle drunkenness could be amusing.

    Wonder what the other effects of messing with this system would be though.

  5. adnim Silver badge


    "Though a pill to let enjoy your favourite tipple without getting drunk appears to be a godsend"

    Does it? Appears to be the spawn of Satan to me.

  6. Colin Millar
    Thumb Up

    Best line ever in an academic study

    " reduce binge drinking in alcohol-preferring rats"

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      I thought it was-

      Binge-drinking in alcohol preferring ratboys...

  7. Ian Stephenson Silver badge

    Bloody spoilsports

    If you don't want to feel the effects or you need to operate machinery - don't drink alcohol - simples.

    Some of us enjoy the feeling of having one or three over the eight occasionally.

    A more useful path of study would be how to block the hangover - a morning after(the night before) pill.

  8. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Quick! Send some to Australia.

  9. Richard 23


    But does it suppress the craving for a doner kebab?

  10. TRT Silver badge

    Research on alcohol is kind of self-defeating.

    Also, didn't Star Trek have 'synthahol' which caused no liver damage etc. and could be reversed by taking a pill?

  11. TRT Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    OK, so it hopefully counters the lack of judgment that sees you waking up in the morning in a strange apartment with your knickers stuffed into your heels, but does it prevent a hangover?

    Paris, for obvious reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Want to go out for a drink?

  12. Tchou


    So you could drive home safely?

    Could save thousands of lives per year!

    Obvious icon, i'll drink to that!

  13. AndrueC Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    >a pill to let enjoy your favourite tipple without getting drunk appears to be a godsend

    To who exactly? If you take away being drunk (or at least 'feeling tipsy') is there any point to alcohol?

    1. JimC Silver badge

      @ getting drunk

      Personally I would love to be able to knock back a "few" pints on a hot day or relish the taste subtleties in a succession of glasses of different single malts or good brandies without losing taste, mental function and the ability to get home on the bike safely to the damn side effects...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    let me reword that

    "Though a pill to let enjoy your favourite tipple without getting drunk appears to be a godsend"

    You say godsend, I say complete waste of time. Getting pissed it the point is what makes it my favourite tipple. You think people drink stella because of the refreshing taste ?.

    (the alcoholism bit is the godsend, but that was only mentioned in passing)

    1. stucs201

      re: for the taste?

      Probably not stella. A decent real ale on the other hand is an entirely different matter.

  15. Gilleain Torrance

    This paper is weird

    Ok, so it's 'accepted' and peer-reviewed, but not yet published. Fine. But also it doesn't seem to report any new results by the author. It's like a mini-review of some other paper (Wu et al 2011), along with other papers in the literature that comes to the conclusion. Is this normal in medical molecular biology?

    1. Kasper Loopstra

      Sounds normal for the medicinal folks. Haven't had a read yet myself, but it's quite common to just do literature work and claim it's a new discovery.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      It's also not new

      Well the pill bit might be new but I remember the newspapers reporting an injectable drug that completely, but temporarily, reversed the effects of drunkeness more than 25 years ago. (Sufficiently pre-Internet that there's no chance of finding a link for you.)

      When the injection wore off you went back to being drunk again! It was touted as being some sort of emergency cure: if you got pissed and left the baby behind somewhere then the police could sober you up sharpish and save the baby, or some such nonsense - you know what the press are like.

      Anyway, no use for it then and so probably no use for it now.

      / Beer icon, obviously

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Didn't the KGB

        Invent a sober-up pill a few years ago (obviously) ?

        1. bags1

          not the KGB - it was Control!

          Maxwell Smart had these, created by Control labs in the eternal fight against KAOS

  16. Pete 43

    Good news for El Reg staffers then

    bad news for the vomit cleanup industry

  17. King Edward I

    And yet...

    ...You're still going to be killing yourself. Death without notice - yay.

    1. multipharious

      that is about right.

      You got it. If the response to the alcohol is inhibited then the drinker would have no warning if he/she continued to consume. Dangerous stuff.

  18. Red Bren


    "A pill to let enjoy your favourite tipple without getting drunk appears to be a godsend"

    Godsend? Are you mad? What kind of journo are you? And on a tech site too! Get to the back of the queue!

  19. Andrew Moore Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    A cytokine inhibitor would be very useful if a H5N1 flu variant did break out (like Spanish Flu) as most of the victims of it died to Cytokine Storm (a fatal immune reaction).

    1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      I wonder

      Would building up a tolerance to alcohol also inhibit cytokine and thus make surviving the Spanish Flu more probable? If so chalk up another win for your favorite pint.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      There is also evidence to suggest that the cytokine response is involved in the 'glutamate storm' that occurs when large amounts of glutamate are released during a stroke or other neurological trauma, so this could conceivably also help prognosis in stroke patients, or in cases of head trauma such as concussion.

    3. multipharious

      @Andrew Moore

      The other interesting research going on is how to block quorum sensing. This is basically a threshold that when reached tells bacteria and viruses there are enough of them to turn on and virulent...which causes the symptoms.

  20. Mermaid Dick

    Serial killer tool

    Perfect for booze drinking competitions against real enemies.

  21. Suburban Inmate

    Oh thanks guys!

    I'm newly teetotal (again, after a couple of weeks relapse) and now I don't get to feel smugly superior and blackmail people after all? The only amusement I'll have is hearing their livers exploding from time to time!

    More seriously, if this were readily available it would be a good way to thin the naturally irresponsible from society (through their livers exploding) kinda like we do with cars for teenagers.

  22. Blain Hamon

    Joking aside

    Wouldn't that mean there's a danger of some idjit* drinking, taking the pill, and not being too sloshed to stop drinking? Surely this pill doesn't counteract alcohol poisoning.

    * Yeah, it'd be their own dang fault, and go into the darwin award category. It might have implications for bar owners in the states, unfortunately.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    "Conk out certain immuno receptors in your brain "

    What could possibly go wrong?

  24. Stu J
    Thumb Up

    Mandatory injection for chavscum

    That is all.

    1. Stuart Gepp

      Am I the only one that misread that as chauvinism?


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