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Aspirin attenuation of alcohol-induced flushing and intoxication in Oriental and Occidental subjects.

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Department of Pharmacology, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, Rootstown 44272.


Aspirin (ASA) was tested in a group of 8 Oriental and 3 Occidental subjects who were shown in a previous study to respond to small doses of ethanol (0.06-0.25 g/kg) with facial flushing. They were compared to a similar group of 11 non-flushing Occidental subjects following a larger ethanol dose (0.37 g/kg) to determine if similar effects could be produced in less sensitive individuals. Control tests of blood ethanol and acetaldehyde (AcH) levels (calculated from breath), facial and neck skin temperatures, body sway (Romberg test), blood pressure, heart rate and 10 Subjective High Assessment Scales (SHAS-Judd, 1977) were conducted before and at 15, 30, 60 and 90 minutes after drinking ethanol as vodka in orange juice. The tests were repeated one week later one hour after receiving 0.64 gm of ASA orally. ASA produced slight changes in the early absorption of ethanol and small decreases in AcH levels in the flushing and non-flushing groups. Facial flushing was markedly reduced in the flushing group, but was slightly increased in the non-flushing Occidentals. Body sway was reduced by ASA in both groups. An alcohol-induced increase in heart rate in the flushing group was reduced with no change in blood pressure. SHAS subjective parameters were widely variable, but indicated that ASA produced reduced sleepiness and earlier relaxation in the flushing group. It is concluded that ASA can block alcohol-induced facial flushing in sensitive subjects and also reduces body sway in the Romberg test and alters some subjective feelings of alcohol intoxication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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