If the patient is seen within 1 to 2 h of imbibing a substantial quantity of ethanol, gastric aspiration and lavage should be considered. Activated charcoal is of no value in pure ethanol intoxication, but as many patients have coingested other drugs which potentiate the toxic effects of ethanol, it should be considered in these cases.
Symptomatic and supportive treatment should be given as needed. Hemodialysis effectively removes ethanol but is rarely indicated as the clinical response to supportive measures is usually good. The indication for hemodialysis should be based on a clinical evaluation and a documented high blood ethanol concentration (>110 mmol/l or 5 g/l).
Was this article helpful?