Beer potomania: an unusual cause of symptomatic hyponatremia

Ann Emerg Med. 1986 Jun;15(6):745-7. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(86)80442-5.


A 43-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with acute agitation, confusion, and tonic seizures. She had a history of drug abuse, most notably beer, which constituted her major dietary intake. The patient's seizures were at first thought to be factitious in association with an acute psychosis; however, her serum sodium concentration was 110 mEq/L and urine sodium was 14 mEq/L. The patient responded to IV hypertonic saline and subsequently recovered completely. Beer potomania, the most likely etiology for this patient's hyponatremia, is a rare disorder in which dietary sodium and protein insufficiency lead to dilutional hyponatremia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beer / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyponatremia / complications
  • Hyponatremia / etiology*
  • Hyponatremia / physiopathology
  • Psychoses, Alcoholic / blood
  • Psychoses, Alcoholic / etiology
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Sodium / analysis


  • Sodium