4-Methylpyrazole May Be an Alternative to Ethanol Therapy for Ethylene Glycol Intoxication in Man

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1986-1987;24(6):463-83. doi: 10.3109/15563658608995388.


4-Methylpyrazole (4 MP) is a strong inhibitor of alcohol dehydrogenase. Its use in acute ethylene glycol (EG) or methanol intoxication has been suggested in experimental studies about its efficacy and safety. We report three cases of accidental intoxication with ethylene glycol in man treated orally with 20 mg/kg/day of 4 MP. The treatment was maintained until plasma EG concentrations became unmeasurable. The patients were admitted early during the course of the poisoning. Their neurological status was good. A slight metabolic acidosis observed in two cases was easily corrected and did not recur. Renal function remained normal in all cases. No patient underwent hemodialysis. On admission plasma EG concentrations were 24.2 mmol/l, 13 mmol/l and 9.7 mmol/l respectively. Plasma EG half-lives were 14.5, 11.5 and 14.75 hours respectively. Plasma oxalate concentrations and the rate of urine oxalate elimination, determined in two patients, were high on admission but quickly returned to normal. Concerning possible side effects of 4 MP, a skin rash was observed in one patient and a possible eosinophilia in the others. These three cases suggest that 4 MP may decrease the metabolic consequences of EG poisoning in man and may be of therapeutic value when administered early during the course of the intoxication before coma, seizures and organic renal failure have occurred.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Antidotes*
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Ethylene Glycols / metabolism
  • Ethylene Glycols / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Fomepizole
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxalates / metabolism
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use*


  • Antidotes
  • Ethylene Glycols
  • Oxalates
  • Pyrazoles
  • Ethanol
  • Fomepizole
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Ethylene Glycol