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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1997 Jun 6;46(1-2):119-22.

Serum and intracellular magnesium concentrations in intoxicated chronic alcoholic and control subjects.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pathology, University of Trieste, Italy.


Serum magnesium levels may not accurately reflect overall magnesium homeostasis. To clarify the relationship between serum and intracellular magnesium concentrations in chronic alcoholism, we determined intralymphocytic magnesium levels and serum magnesium, sodium and potassium concentrations in ten chronic alcoholic subjects admitted to the emergency room during acute ethanol intoxication, and compared the results to those of 14 healthy nonalcoholic controls. Serum magnesium, sodium and potassium concentrations were within the normal range in both groups of subjects and determination of intralymphocytic magnesium levels revealed a nonsignificant decrease in alcoholic subjects compared to controls. In conclusion, serum and intralymphocytic magnesium concentrations did not differ between chronic alcoholics and controls in our population; the results of the present study do not support the practice of routine magnesium administration to chronic alcoholics in the emergency room setting.

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