American Academy of Clinical Toxicology Practice Guidelines on the Treatment of Ethylene Glycol Poisoning. Ad Hoc Committee

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1999;37(5):537-60. doi: 10.1081/clt-100102445.


Fomepizole (4-methylpyrazole, 4-MP, Antizol) is a potent inhibitor of alcohol dehydrogenase that was approved recently by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ethylene glycol poisoning. Although ethanol is the traditional antidote for ethylene glycol poisoning, it has not been studied prospectively. Furthermore, the FDA has not approved the use of ethanol for this purpose. Case reports and a prospective case series indicate that the intravenous (i.v.) administration of fomepizole every 12 hours prevents renal damage and metabolic abnormalities associated with the conversion of ethylene glycol to toxic metabolites. Currently, there are insufficient data to define the relative role of fomepizole and ethanol in the treatment of ethylene glycol poisoning. Fomepizole has clear advantages over ethanol in terms of validated efficacy, predictable pharmacokinetics, ease of administration, and lack of adverse effects, whereas ethanol has clear advantages over fomepizole in terms of long-term clinical experience and acquisition cost. The overall comparative cost of medical treatment using each antidote requires further study.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antidotes / therapeutic use*
  • Ethylene Glycol / chemistry
  • Ethylene Glycol / pharmacokinetics
  • Ethylene Glycol / poisoning*
  • Fomepizole
  • Humans
  • Poisoning / drug therapy*
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use*


  • Antidotes
  • Pyrazoles
  • Fomepizole
  • Ethylene Glycol