Treatment for Acute Intoxication

Generally, no treatment is required for acute ethanol intoxication. Allowing the individual to sleep off the effects of ethanol ingestion is the usual procedure. Hangovers are treated similarly; that is, no effective remedy exists for a hangover, except for controlling the amount of ethanol consumed. Sometimes ethanol overdose is a medical emergency. For example, prompt treatment is required if the patient is in danger of dying of respiratory arrest, is comatose, has dilated pupils, is hy-pothermic, or displays tachycardia.

Treatment for severe ethanol overdose is generally supportive. Increased intracranial pressure can be relieved by intravenous administration of hypertonic mannitol. Hemodialysis can accelerate the removal of ethanol from the body. Stimulants of ethanol metabolism, such as fructose, are not sufficiently effective, and use of analeptics is not recommended because of the possibility of precipitating convulsions.

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