Taking aspirin for a hangover has the potential to ward off headaches and other unpleasant side effects of drinking too much alcohol. This method was scientifically proven on rats, however, not humans. In addition, taking aspirin for a hangover can irritate an already sensitive stomach, causing the hungover person to vomit. The best way to find out the effectiveness is to experiment with it, which is safe unless the hungover person has a history of upset stomach, ulcers, or other condition that prevents him or her from taking aspirin or drinking alcohol.
The aspirin should be taken three to four hours after consuming alcohol, along with a cup of coffee or other substance with a moderate amount of caffeine. Drinking coffee and taking aspirin for a hangover is less about a cure and more about prevention. If the aspirin is not available, only drinking the coffee may be enough to prevent headaches. Other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications will work in place of aspirin.
It is unknown how nauseous one might become after taking aspirin for a hangover, but this likely differs for everyone and depends on how much the person drank. The drug can irritate the stomach, which is likely already irritated from the alcohol. Rats do not throw up, so the scientists conducting the research were unclear as to how nauseous, if at all, the lab rats became. It is generally not advisable to take aspirin if one has a medical condition that might be aggravated by the medication, like ulcers or an allergy.
This preventative method is less likely to work if the person consumed a large amount of alcohol. In fact, if too much alcohol was consumed, the coffee and medication should be skipped in favor of emergency medical attention. Young people, inexperienced drinkers, and men are more likely to get alcohol poisoning, especially if they drink five or more drinks in rapid succession. Confusion, slow breathing, and seizures are warning signs of poisoning, and should be treated with urgency. Alcohol poisoning can be fatal, and sometimes those who survive have irreversible brain damage.
Until a study is conducted on humans, people will not know exactly how effective aspirin is for a hangover without trying it themselves. Both alcohol and aspirin are relatively safe in small amounts, but it is safest to ask a medical professional before experimenting with a drug. In addition, no amount of caffeine and aspirin for a hangover will significantly help someone with alcohol poisoning. Sleeping, walking it off, and cold showers will not help either. If alcohol poisoning is suspected, immediate medical care is needed.