"Beer Potomania" - A Syndrome of Severe Hyponatremia with Unique Pathophysiology: Case Studies and Literature Review

Cureus. 2017 Dec 29;9(12):e2000. doi: 10.7759/cureus.2000.


Beer potomania, a unique syndrome of hyponatremia, was first reported in 1972. It is described as the excessive intake of alcohol, particularly beer, together with poor dietary solute intake that leads to fatigue, dizziness, and muscular weakness. The low solute content of beer, and suppressive effect of alcohol on proteolysis result in reduced solute delivery to the kidney. The presence of inadequate solute in the kidney eventually causes dilutional hyponatremia secondary to reduced clearance of excess fluid from the body. Early detection of hyponatremia due to beer potomania in the hospital is necessary to carefully manage the patient in order to avoid neurological consequences as this syndrome has unique pathophysiology. We are reporting two cases, presenting to the emergency department with severe hyponatremia. After a detailed initial evaluation of the patients and labs for hyponatremia, a diagnosis of beer potomania was established in both cases. Considering the unique pathophysiology of beer potomania syndrome, the patients were closely monitored and treated appropriately to prevent any neurological sequelae.

Keywords: alcoholic beer; beer-potomania; dilutional hyponatremia; osmolar load; osmotic demyelination syndrome; potomania vs. siadh; serum sodium concentration; severe hyponatremia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports