Other Alcohols and Related Compounds

AuthorJames G. Wigmore
Other Alcohols and Related Compounds
The other common alcohols such as isopropyl (rubbing) or methyl
(wood) alcohol are covered brief‌ly in this chapter. In addition, the major
metabolite of ethyl alcohol (acetaldehyde) as well as acetone (ACT) and
ethylene glycol (EG) are included.
Acetaldehyde is readily formed in vitro from alcohol in whole blood sam-
ples (). Elevated blood acetaldehyde concentrations can result from
the consumption of alcohol and the use of disulf‌ira m (Antabuse) or cal-
cium carbimide (CC) as the conversion of acetaldehyde to acetic acid is
inhi bited (–).
A fatal case of disulf‌iram-alcohol interaction has been reported
(). The consumption of inky cap mushrooms also causes a di-
sulf‌iram ef‌fect (). The variation in enzymatic metabolism of al-
cohol—higher blood acetaldehyde concentrations occur in many Asian
people—has been found to cause a reduction in alcohol consumption
similar to the disulf‌iram ef‌fect (). Some symptoms caused by ele-
vated blood acetaldehyde concentrations are the following:
• Pronounced f‌lushing of face and body
• Increase in heart rate
• Palpitation s
• Decrease i n blood pressure
420Wigmore on Alcohol
Reference Number: 
• Nausea
• Dizziness
Reference Number: 
, ... “Problems and Pitfalls in Acetaldehyde Determination.”
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, : –,  ( tables,
 references)
Abstract: Artifactual formation of acetaldehyde occurs in blood. It is
recommended that blood be de-proteinized rapidly ( seconds) after
collection to avoid these problems.
The determination of acetaldehyde in biologic samples is compli cated
by a variety of formation and disappearance reac tions occurring in the
present methods of acetaldehyde analyses. The acetal dehyde formation
(ethanol oxidation) in deproteinized supernatant of tissue preparations
is prevented by the use of thiourea. During deproteinization, however,
it is not inhibited by thiourea, and this remains the main problem in
blood acetaldehyde determinations.
Reference Number: 
, .., . , . ,  . . “Time Course of
Breath Acetaldehyde Concentrations during Intravenous Infusions of
Ethanol in Healthy Men.” Drugs and Alcohol Dependence : –,
 ( f‌igures,  references)
Abstract: Acetaldehyde determination in biological samples is a simple
procedure, but artifacts can occur in whole blood. In this study, four
healthy men were given % ethanol intravenously (IV). Giving ethanol
IV eliminates any possible mouth alcohol ef‌fects. The breath-blood acet-
aldehyde ratio was :. Breath contained approximately , times
more ethanol than aceta ldehyde.
The breath acetaldehyde time course followed the changes in blood and
breath ethanol for widely varying infusio n regimens. Breath analysis is a
useful analytical technique bec ause serial determinations can be made
every – min and the results ref‌lect, at least in par t, the concentration
of free acetaldehyde in the pulmonary arte rial blood and therefore the
central nervous system. This a ssumes that acetaldehyde freely passes
the blood-brain barrier, although this may not be so.

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