In chemistry, an alcohol is any organic compound in which the hydroxyl functional group (–OH) is bound to a saturated carbon atom. Alcohols are hydroxy derivatives of aliphatic hydrocarbons. They may contain one or more hydroxyl group. The term alcohol originally referred to the primary alcohol ethanol (ethyl alcohol), which is used as a drug and is the main alcohol present in alcoholic beverages.

Alcohol Pharmacology



Ethyl Alcohol is a monohydroxy alcohol. It is naturally produced by the fermentation of sugars by yeasts or via petrochemical processes, and is most commonly consumed as a popular recreational drug. It also has medical applications. It work as an antiseptic and disinfectant. It is widely used as a chemical solvent.

Alcohol is manufactured by fermentation of sugars.

Ethyl alcohol is the main constituent of all kinds of alcoholic beverages.

Mechanism of Action:

Alcohol promotes GABA-A receptor mediated synaptic inhibition (through chlorides channel opening) as well as inhibits NMDA (N – Methyl – D – Aspartate) type of excitatory amino – acid receptor. Ethyl alcohol can indirectly reduce neurotransmitter release by inhibiting Ca++ channels. Turnover of Na in brain is enhanced by alcohol through an opioid receptor depended mechanism. This is probably important in the pleasurable effects of alcohol and origins of alcohol dependence.

Pharmacokinetics of Ethyl Alcohol:

Ethyl alcohol absorbed rapidly from the stomach duodenum and jejunum. The absorption is delayed by the presence of food in the stomach. In the lung alcohol passes form blood to breath, which smells of alcohol. Over 90 to 98% of alcohol is metabolized in the body by the liver. The rest is excreted by the kidney and lungs.

Contraindications for Ethyl Alcohol: 

Peptic ulcer, Hyper-acidity, Epilepsy, Severe liver disease, Pregnancy.

Adverse Effect / Side Effects of Ethyl Alcohol: 

Nausea, Vomiting, Flushing, Hang over, Traffic accidents, Hypotension, Gastritis, Hypoglycemia, Respiratory depression, Coma and Death.

Warnings and Precautions for Ethyl Alcohol:

Caution in diabetes mellitus, gout patients, hepatic impairment, shock.

Therapeutical Use of Alcohol Ethyl Alcohol:

  • In the symptomatic treatment of fever because of its cooling effect on skin.
  • In the prevention of bed sore as it hardness the skin.
  • As an antiseptic in the concentration of 70%
  • To wash out phenol in cases of accidental skin contamination.
  • As an appetizer (10%) and a carminative.
  • Rubefacient and the counter irritant for sprains, joint pains etc.
  • Astringent action of alcohol is utilized in an anti-perspirant and after shave lotion.
  • Reflex stimulation in fainting / hysteria one drop in nose.
  • Methanol poisoning.
  • To ward off cold.
  • Reduces the severe cancer pain.
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