I am preparing a paper on an unrelated topic, but a point I am arguing is contingent upon knowing what the clinical indications are for alcohol.

Now, I am going to preempt the confusion by simply restating my question: suppose a patient presents to hospital, under what circumstances would the administration of alcohol be clinically indicated?

So far, I have the following:

  1. Ethylene glycol (antifreeze) poisoning
  2. Methanol poisoning

Any other indications?

Looking at the FDA approved drugs page, it would seem that all alcohol-based preparations are now discontinued. Am I to take it that fomepizole has rendered alcohol as a pharmacotherapy obsolete?

1 Answer 1


Fomepizole is indeed the preferred treatment for methanol and ethylene glycol poisoning, but ethanol can be used if fomepizole is not available.

Some doctors/ hospitals will treat alcohol withdrawal with alcohol (or at least did fairly recently), but everywhere I've worked uses benzodiazepines or similar medications to treat it.

I am not aware of any other indications for treating patients with ethanol.

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