Ethanol overdose

Ethanol poisoning is caused by consuming too many alcoholic drinks.

Poisonous Ingredient  

Where Found 

  • alcoholic beverages (beer, whiskey, wine, vodka, and so on)


  • unable to walk in a normal manner  
  • listing from side to side  
  • slurred speech  
  • slowed breathing  
  • vomiting  
  • abdominal pain  
  • intestinal bleeding  
  • stupor  
  • coma

Home Treatment 
If you can awaken an adult who has consumed too much alcohol, move the person to a comfortable place to sleep off the effects. Make sure the person won’t fall or get hurt. Place the person on their side in case they vomit. Check the person frequently to make sure their condition does not worsen. If the patient is semi-conscious or unconscious, emergency assistance may be needed. When in doubt, CALL for medical help.

Do Not make the person vomit unless instructed to do so by Poison Control, because an individual can accidentally inhale vomit into the lungs.

Before Calling Emergency 
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the drinks consumed (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number 
Posion control will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See poison control centers for the national telephone number. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room 
Some or all of the following may be performed:

  • Treat the symptoms  
  • Provide support for airway and breathing  
  • Administer IV fluids and multivitamins

Expectations (prognosis) 
In cases of toxic alcohol consumption, survival over 24 hours past the drinking binge usually means the person will recover.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.