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Acute alcoholic intoxication

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Acute alcohol intoxication is synonymous with drunkenness, but context matters. The term acute alcohol intoxication is entrained in healthcare providers for use in the performance of their duties, often in emergencies. Toxicologists also speak of alcohol intoxication to discriminate from other toxins researched in the field.

Treatment for acute alcohol intoxication may include:

  • ABCs (Airway, Breathing, Circulation)
  • protecting the patient from aspirating gastric contents
  • dextrose
  • thiamine may be administered to prevent the development of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, and is a treatment for chronic alcoholism, but in the acute context is usually co-administered
  • Electrolytes
  • Dialysis if the concentration is dangerously high (>400 mg%)
  • Additional pharmacotherapy may be indicted for nausea, tremor, and anxiety.


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