II. Background

  1. Isopropanol (Isopropyl Alcohol, Rubbing Alcohol) is the most common toxic Alcohol ingestion in the U.S.
    1. Other toxic Alcohol ingestions include Ethylene Glycol Poisoning, Methanol Poisoning

III. Pathophysiology

  1. Isopropanol is absorbed rapidly from the gastrointestinal tract
  2. Isopropanol is converted to acetone in the liver by Alcohol dehydrogenase
  3. Acetone is a Ketone Body that has no charge (neutral)
    1. Results in Ketosis without a Metabolic Acidosis or Anion Gap
    2. Osmolal Gap is increased (as with other toxic Alcohol ingestions)

IV. Pharmacokinetics

  1. Effects (and plasma levels) peak 1 hour after ingestion
  2. Half-life of isopropanol: 2.5 to 16 hours (typically <8 hours)
  3. Half-life of acetone: 7 to 26 hours (typically >10 hours)
  4. Renal excretion of both isopropanol (up to 50% not metabolized) and acetone
  5. Lethal dose Isopropyl Alcohol: 250 ml (significant illness may occur with as little as 10 ml ingestion)
    1. However, even children have survived much larger ingestions with supportive care alone

V. Sources

  1. Rubbing Alcohol (accounts for 70% of product)
  2. Hand Cleansers
  3. Perfume solvents
  4. Paint thinners
  5. Cleaners and disinfectants
  6. Racing fuel

VI. Findings

  1. Neurologic Changes
    1. Altered Level of Consciousness (CNS Depression)
      1. Drowsiness or Lethargy
      2. Coma
    2. Headache
    3. Ataxia
    4. Decreased Deep Tendon Reflexes (or areflexia)
  2. Associated findings
    1. Fruity breath odor (acetone)
    2. Vomiting
    3. Hypotension (myocardial depression)
    4. Tachycardia
    5. Hypothermia
    6. No visual effects (unlike the Retinopathy associated with Methanol)
  3. Severe shock findings in massive ingestion
    1. Hematemesis
    2. Pulmonary edema
    3. Pulmonary Hemorrhage

VII. Labs

  1. See Unknown Ingestion for full workup
  2. Complete Blood Count
    1. Aplastic Anemia
    2. Hemolytic Anemia
  3. Serum Glucose
    1. Hyperglycemia
  4. Serum Electrolytes and Renal Function tests
    1. Serum Creatinine falsely elevated when acetone levels >40-100 mg/dl (colorimetric testing)
    2. Suspect false Serum Creatinine elevation if the Blood Urea Nitrogen and the Blood pH are normal
    3. Unlike Ethylene Glycol, Isopropyl Alcohol does not cause Renal Failure
  5. Serum Ketones
    1. Beta Hydroxybutyrate elevation is NOT due to Isopropyl Alcohol ingestion (acetone)
    2. Beta Hydroxybutyrate elevation typically indicated other Ketosis causes (e.g. Diabetic Ketoacidosis)
  6. Creatinine Kinase
    1. Elevated in Rhabdomyolysis
  7. Serum Osmolality
    1. Osmolar Gap with Isopropyl Alcohol as well as other toxic Alcohols (Methanol, Ethylene Glycol)
    2. Osmolar Gap rises 17 for a serum Isopropyl Alcohol level of 100 mg/dl
  8. Venous Blood Gas
    1. No Metabolic Acidosis despite Ketosis
    2. Contrast with Metabolic Acidosis with Anion Gap with other toxic Alcohol ingestions (Methanol, Ethylene Glycol)
  9. Isopropanol Level (serum Isopropyl Alcohol level)
    1. Send-out lab in most hospitals
    2. Level >50 mg/dl: Toxic effects
    3. Level >150 mg/dl: Risk of death (without supportive care)
    4. Level >400 mg/dl: Consider Hemodialysis
  10. Acetone Levels
    1. Send-out lab in most hospitals

IX. Management

  1. ABC Management and supportive care
  2. Fomepizole (Alcohol Dehydrogenase inhibition) is NOT indicated (unlike with other toxic Alcohol ingestions)
  3. Activated Charcoal may be considered in recent ingestion (esp. for other co-ingestions)
    1. Isopropyl Alcohol absorption is so rapid, GI Decontamination is unlikely to be of benefit
  4. Hemodialysis indications
    1. Course refractory to supportive care
    2. Serum Isopropyl Alcohol level >400-500 mg/dl

X. Complications: Acute

  1. CNS Depression related acute complications
    1. Airway compromise
  2. Rhabdomyolysis
  3. Cardiovascular Depression and shock

XI. Prognosis

  1. Ethylene Glycol Intoxication has twice the acute lethality of Alcohol Intoxication, although fatalities are rare
  2. However, if patient survives the acute Intoxication, there are no significant longterm complications

XII. References

  1. Leikin (1996) Poisoning and Toxicology Handbook, 2nd ed, Lexicomp, p. 943-4
  2. (2019) UpToDate, accessed online 7/13/2019

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Ontology: Isopropyl Alcohol (C0022237)

Definition (NCI) An isomer of propyl alcohol with antibacterial properties. Although the exact mechanism of isopropanol's disinfecting action is not known, it might kill cells by denaturing cell proteins and DNA, interfering with cellular metabolism, and dissolving cell lipo-protein membranes. Isopropanol is used in soaps and lotions as an antiseptic.
Definition (MSH) An isomer of 1-PROPANOL. It is a colorless liquid having disinfectant properties. It is used in the manufacture of acetone and its derivatives and as a solvent. Topically, it is used as an antiseptic.
Concepts Organic Chemical (T109) , Pharmacologic Substance (T121)
MSH D019840
SnomedCT 259268001, 311549002, 85062008, 259215007, 414547000
LNC LP14375-7, MTHU005007
English 2-Propanol, Alcohol, Isopropyl, Isopropanol, 2 Propanol, Alcohol, Rubbing, Rubbing Alcohol, Isopropanolol, PROPANOL 02, Dimethyl carbinol, Rubbing alcohol, otic preparations isopropyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol (otic), isopropyl alcohol (otic) (medication), Isopropyl Alcohol, ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL, Dimethylcarbinol, 2-Propanol [Chemical/Ingredient], rubbing alcohol, alcohol rubbing, alcohol rub, isopropyl alcohol, isopropanol, Isopropyl alcohol (substance), Rubbing alcohol (substance), Propan-2-ol, Propan-2-ol (substance), Isopropyl alcohol (substance) [Ambiguous], Isopropyl alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol (product), ALCOHOL,ISOPROPYL
Swedish 2-propanol
Czech 2-propanol, isopropanol, isopropylalkohol
Finnish 2-propanoli
French Propanol-2, 2-Propanol, Propan-2-ol, Alcool isopropylique, Isopropanol
Japanese イソプロパノール, 2-プロパノール, β-ヒドロキシプロパン, イソプロピルアルコール, ジメチルカルビノール, β-オキシプロパン
German PROPANOL 02, 2-Propanol, Isopropanol, Isopropylalkohol
Spanish propano-2-ol, alcohol isopropílico, alcohol isopropílico (sustancia), alcohol para frotar, alcohol de fricción (sustancia), alcohol de fricción, Alcohol Isopropílico, 2-propanol (sustancia), 2-propanol, alcohol isopropílico (concepto no activo), isopropanol, alcohol isopropilo (producto), alcohol isopropilo, Isopropanol, 2-Propanol, Alcohol Isopropil
Portuguese Isopropil Álcool, Isopropil-Álcool, Álcool Isopropílico, 2-Propanol, Isopropanol
Polish Izopropanol, 2-propanol, Alkohol izopropylowy
Norwegian Isopropanol, 2-propanol
Italian 2-Propanolo

Ontology: Toxic effect of 2-propanol (C0161681)

Concepts Injury or Poisoning (T037)
ICD9 980.2
ICD10 T51.2 , T51.2X, T51.2X1
SnomedCT 212813006, 212814000, 212815004, 75990004, 212817007, 212816003
English 2-Propanol, Dimeth carbinl cause tox effct, Dimethyl carbinol causing toxic effect, Isopropanol causing tox effect, Isopropyl alcohol causing toxic effect NOS, Isopropyl alcohol-tox.eff.NOS, Isprop alcohl causng tox effct, Rubb alcohol causng tox effect, Toxic effect of 2-propanol, Rubbing alcohol causing toxic effect, Toxic eff isopropyl alc, Dimethylcarbinol causing toxic effect, Isopropanol causing toxic effect, Toxic effect of 2-Propanol, Toxic effect of 2-Propanol NOS, Isopropanol causing toxic effect (disorder), Toxic effect of isopropyl alcohol (disorder), Isopropyl alcohol causing toxic effect NOS (disorder), Dimethyl carbinol causing toxic effect (disorder), Rubbing alcohol causing toxic effect (disorder), Toxic effect of isopropyl alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol causing toxic effect, Isopropyl alcohol causing toxic effect (disorder), Toxic effect of isopropyl alcohol (disorder) [Ambiguous], Toxic effect of dimethyl carbinol, Toxic effect of isopropanol, Toxic effect of rubbing alcohol
Dutch toxisch gevolg van isopropylalcohol, Isopropanol
German toxischer Effekt von Isopropylalkohol, Toxische Wirkung: 2-Propanol
Portuguese Efeito tóxico de álcool isopropílico
Spanish Efecto tóxico del alcohol isopropílico, alcohol isopropílico que ocasiona efecto tóxico (trastorno), intoxicación por alcohol isopropílico, alcohol isopropilo que ocasiona efecto tóxico (trastorno), alcohol isopropílico que ocasiona efecto tóxico, carbinol de dimetilo que causa efectos tóxicos, dimetil carbinol que causa efectos tóxicos, efecto tóxico del dimetil carbinol, isopropanol que causa efectos tóxicos, alcohol isopropilo que ocasiona efecto tóxico, dimetil carbinol que causa efectos tóxicos (trastorno), isopropanol que causa efectos tóxicos (trastorno), efecto tóxico del dimetilcarbinol, efecto tóxico causado por isopropanol (trastorno), alcohol isopropilo que produce efecto tóxico, SAI (trastorno), efecto tóxico del alcohol isopropílico (trastorno), alcohol de fricción que causa efectos tóxicos, alcohol isopropilo que produce efecto tóxico, SAI, efecto tóxico causado por dimetil carbinol (trastorno), efecto tóxico causado por dimetil carbinol, efecto tóxico del isopropanol, efecto tóxico del alcohol de fricción, alcohol de fricción que causa efectos tóxicos (trastorno), efecto tóxico causado por isopropanol, efecto tóxico del alcohol isopropílico (concepto no activo), efecto tóxico del alcohol isopropílico
Japanese イソプロピルアルコールの毒作用, イソプロピルアルコールノドクサヨウ
French Effet toxique de l'alcool isopropylique
Italian Effetti tossici dell'alcool isopropilico
Czech Toxický účinek isopropanolu
Korean 2-프로판의 중독작용
Hungarian Izopropil-alkohol toxikus hatása

Ontology: Isopropyl alcohol poisoning (C0549459)

Concepts Injury or Poisoning (T037)
SnomedCT 212813006, 75990004
English poisoning by isopropyl alcohol (diagnosis), poisoning by isopropyl alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol poisoning
Spanish intoxicación por alcohol isopropílico