Methanol poisoning: a review and case study of four patients from central Australia

Aust Crit Care. 1997 Dec;10(4):113-8. doi: 10.1016/s1036-7314(97)70412-0.


Methanol intoxication, a rare and potentially lethal form of poisoning, usually results from ingestion and occasionally inhalation of methanol. Initial symptoms of blurred vision, elongated anion gap and metabolic acidosis are typically delayed and may not at first be recognised as methanol-related complaints. Once diagnosed, treatment must be prompt and definitive. As well as general supportive care, ethanol infusion, dialysis and alkalinization from the mainstays of treatment. The cases described in this paper are compared to previous reports from other countries worldwide and contrast the variance in outcome often seen in methanol poisoning. The paper describes two tragic deaths and two lucky survivors, all of whom had consumed a cocktail of methanol and other alcoholic beverages at the same party. The ICU nurse's role in managing the methanol-intoxicated patient relies on that person's sound knowledge of the unusual biochemical reactions occurring in the body and the need to institute definitive and supportive measures to help both patient and family recover.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Drug Overdose / epidemiology
  • Drug Overdose / metabolism
  • Drug Overdose / therapy
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methanol / poisoning*
  • Solvents / poisoning*


  • Solvents
  • Methanol