Methanol half-life during ethanol administration: implications for management of methanol poisoning

Ann Emerg Med. 1995 Aug;26(2):202-7. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(95)70152-4.


Study objective: To determine the half-life of methanol in methanol-poisoned patients who are treated with ethanol but not with hemodialysis.

Design: Case series.

Setting: University Hospital, University of Manitoba.

Participants: Three methanol-poisoned patients treated with ethanol but not with hemodialysis and three similar patients identified by a literature review.

Results: Plots of terminal concentration versus time data were inconsistent with zero-order kinetics and were adequately explained by an apparent first-order process. The median half-life of methanol in these patients was 43.1 hours, with a range of 30.3 to 52.0 hours.

Conclusion: Because of the significantly increased risk of toxicity and complications during ethanol monotherapy, we suggest that hemodialysis be considered for methanol-poisoned patients who are treated with ethanol infusion.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / drug therapy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ethanol / administration & dosage
  • Ethanol / therapeutic use*
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methanol / pharmacokinetics*
  • Methanol / poisoning*
  • Middle Aged


  • Ethanol
  • Methanol