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Alcohol Alcohol. 1992 Nov;27(6):641-7.

Kinetics of ethanol and methanol in alcoholics during detoxification.

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  • 1Department of Forensic Toxicology, National Institute of Forensic Medicine, University Hospital, Link√∂ping, Sweden.


We investigated the kinetics of ethanol and methanol in 20 dependent alcoholics (16 men and four women) during the first 24 hr after admission to hospital for detoxification. The blood-ethanol concentration (BEC) on admission ranged from 238 to 489 mg/dl (mean 386 mg/dl). The mean rate of ethanol disappearance from the blood was 23 mg/dl/hr with a spread from 13 to 36 mg/dl/hr. The concentrations of methanol in blood at the start of detoxification ranged from 0.16 to 2.8 mg/dl (mean 1.15 mg/dl) and these levels remained more or less unchanged until the BEC had dropped below 30 mg/dl. The concentrations of ethanol and methanol in blood at the start of detoxification were not correlated (r = 0.032, P > 0.05). The results of this study do not support the notion that the metabolism of methanol in chronic alcoholics proceeds independently of the prevailing BEC. We found a three-fold difference in the rate of disappearance of ethanol from blood in alcohol-dependent subjects.

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