Fact check: Elotrans hype: diarrhea drug as a hangover miracle cure?

Fact check: Elotrans hype: diarrhea drug as a hangover miracle cure?

Christmas celebrations and New Year’s parties sometimes leave a thick skull. The diarrhea drug Elotrans is said to work like a miracle cure for an alcohol hangover, according to social media. The result: empty shelves in pharmacies. There are alternatives.

“Bought an extra pack before the weekend,” writes a user on the Elotrans Instagram account. There has recently been a real hype about the diarrhea drug on social media. It is repeatedly claimed that after a few too many mulled wines at the Christmas market or a drunken New Year’s Eve, a small bag of the drinking mixture would make the hangover disappear as if by magic.

Claim: The diarrhea drug Elotrans works like a miracle cure for hangovers after a night of partying.

Rating: Misleading. There are cheaper alternatives that work at least as well.

Facts: The over-the-counter remedy from the pharmacy, which costs around 70 cents per dose, compensates for the loss of water and electrolytes, according to the manufacturer Stada. In addition, Elotrans can shorten the duration of diarrhea and improve well-being in the case of gastrointestinal diseases. It provides the body with salts, minerals and glucose in the optimal composition and thus supports regeneration, according to the description of the drug on the company’s website.

How well does Elotrans work for hangovers?

Heavy alcohol consumption can affect the electrolyte balance in the body, explains Heiner Wedemeyer from the German Society for Gastroenterology, Digestive and Metabolic Diseases (DGVS). In this case, taking Elotrans may lead to an improvement, says Wedemeyer and qualifies: “But the effects will not be great.”

The symptoms of a hangover include, according to the Federal Center for Health Education such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, tiredness and a general feeling of illness.

What else helps against hangovers?

“If you consume alcohol, you should make sure that you also drink substances containing minerals,” explains Stefan Fink, head of the Federal Union of German Pharmacists’ Associations (ABDA). It could be apple or orange juice. In comparison to Elotrans, the pharmacist says: “If you drink an apple juice spritzer and then eat a banana with it, you have practically the same effect.”

Expert Wedemeyer sees things similarly: “It makes no sense to spend a lot of money on Elotrans,” he says. “The good old household remedies are equivalent.” The nutritional expert’s anti-hangover tips: “Drink enough, add carbohydrates, if necessary take a headache pill, for example aspirin, eat salty food.”

How did the hype actually come about?

The pharmaceutical company Stada plays on Instagram with the use of Elotrans as an anti-hangover remedy. The company has been promoting the diarrhea drug on its own account with almost 13,000 followers for around two years. There you can see pictures of a New Year’s Eve party, where the revelers reach for Elotrans packs. These posts often feature joking comments about heavy drinking and nights out.

Last summer, the demand was then noticed in the pharmacies, recalls Fink. The ABDA board attributes this to the hype on the Internet: “There really seems to be a strong connection.” The high demand has in turn led to delivery bottlenecks. Fink warns that one cannot expect the drug to be available again in sufficient quantities in the near future.

A few weeks ago, Stada announced on Instagram: “We are getting more and more messages because Elotrans is sold out in many pharmacies.” The manufacturer wanted to “work at full speed to expand production capacities and meet demand in the best possible way,” it said at the time.

When asked about the background of the social media activities, the company explained: “The background to the presence in social media is the fact that patients with diarrhea withdraw from society because of shame. With the lively content, STADA tries to deal openly with this unpleasant topic to accomplish.”

What is Elotrans actually used for?

Elotrans is a drug used to compensate for dehydration in diarrheal diseases, according to the drug’s package insert. The mixture, which you should dissolve in a glass of water and then drink, contains salts (electrolytes) and glucose.

Pharmacist Fink sees two main areas of application: On the one hand, it is intended for infants and small children with diarrhea and vomiting, and on the other hand, travelers who are afraid of gastrointestinal infections on the go would buy it prophylactically.

Fink therefore takes a hard stance on the hype about counteracting excessive alcohol consumption with Elotrans: “It is not necessary to buy medicines for infants away.” Because, as it says in the leaflet that comes with the drug: “Particularly in infants and small children, diarrhea can quickly lead to serious symptoms, especially if they are accompanied by uncontrollable vomiting.” These include impaired consciousness and shock.

What side effects and other dangers are there?

Excessive consumption of the Elotrans mixture can lead to interactions with other medicines – such as heart medicines – explains pharmacist Fink. Anyone who drinks too much of it also exposes their mineral balance to the risk of tipping over.

Wedemeyer also warns: “If other diseases are present, for example kidney failure, or other medications are taken, you can have problems.”

All information on the dpa fact checks Contact page for the dpa fact check team


Source link