Antipokhmelin is a Russian tablet that helps to prevent or overcome the negative effects of alcohol consumption and hangover. The main ingredient is succinic acid, also found in amber. It is marketed as RU-21 in the US and UK. Claims of effectiveness are based primarily on anecdotal evidence, and there have been no known placebo controlled double blind studies published in peer reviewed scientific journals.
RU-21 was developed by Prof. Eugene Mayevski at the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics (division of the Russian Academy of Sciences), where the product was also clinically tested. Further tests were conducted at the Russian Ministry of Public Health. The tests confirmed the effects of RU-21 on the body's ability to metabolize alcohol. The legend behind the product's history attributes the development of RU-21 to the KGB. An urban legend surrounding RU-21 is that KGB operatives sought a chemical compound that would allow them to drink heavily with suspected Western intelligence agents, in the Soviet Union or the West, and not get drunk. At the same time, according to the legend, the Western agent would become intoxicated and (hopefully) reveal secrets to the KGB agent, who would simply be pretending to be drunk and in fact be perfectly lucid. The legend states that while this did not work, KGB agents discovered that the tablet did have an unpredicted side-effect; the apparent ability to lessen a hangover. While there is some truth to this legend (the KGB did conduct some alcohol-related tests involving key ingredients in RU-21, most notably the succinic acid), KGB has no role in commercializing this product.
After its successful launch in the USA, RU-21 quickly gained international distribution and became somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. While there were no articles published in peer-reviewed journals, RU-21 has achieved recognition among consumers through word-of-mouth and also through strong endorsements from publications, such as GQ, Rolling Stone and NY Post.