An overview of exposure to ethanol-containing substances and ethanol intoxication in children based on three illustrated cases

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Abstract
Alcohol addiction and intoxication are major health problems worldwide. Acute alcohol intoxication is well reported in adults and adolescents but less frequently reported in children of younger ages. We report three anonymized cases of pediatric ethanol exposure and illustrate the different mechanisms of intoxication. In all cases, a focused history is the key to prompt diagnosis and timely management. Physicians should be aware of this potential poison in children presented with acute confusional or encephalopathic state. In contrast, neonates with ethanol intoxication may present with nonspecific gastrointestinal symptomatology. Urgent exclusion of sepsis, electrolyte imbalance, drug intoxication, and surgical abdominal condition is critical. Using these illustrated cases, we performed a narrative literature review on issues of exposure to ethanol-containing substances and ethanol intoxication in children. In conclusion, a high level of suspicion and interrogation on ethanol or substance use are essential particularly in the lactating mother for an accurate and timely diagnosis of ethanol intoxication to be made.

Keywords: alcohol, child, ethanol, intoxication, neonate.

Citation: Hon KL, Leung AKC, Cheung E, Lee B, Tsang MMC, Torres AR. An overview of exposure to ethanol-containing substances and ethanol intoxication in children based on three illustrated cases. Drugs in Context 2018; 7: 212512. DOI: 10.7573/dic.212512

Disclosure and potential conflicts of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication. The international Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Potential Conflicts of Interest form for the authors is available for download at: http://www.drugsincontext.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/dic.212512-COI.pdf

Funding declaration: No financial support was received.

Copyright: Copyright © 2018 Hon KL, Leung AKC, Cheung E, Lee B, Tsang MMC, Torres AR. Distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Deed CC BY NC ND 4.0, which allows anyone to copy, distribute, and transmit the article provided it is properly attributed in the manner specified below. No commercial use without permission.

Correct attribution: Copyright © 2018 Hon KL, Leung AKC, Cheung E, Lee B, Tsang MMC, Torres AR. https://doi.org/10.7573/dic.212512. Published by Drugs in Context under Creative Commons License Deed CC BY NC ND 4.0.

Article URL: http://www.drugsincontext.com/an-overview-of-exposure-to-ethanol-containing-substances-and-ethanol-intoxication-in-children-based-on-three-illustrated-cases

Correspondence: Kam Lun Hon, Department of Paediatrics, 6/F Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, NT, Hong Kong. ehon@hotmail.com

Provenance: invited; externally peer reviewed.

Submitted: 29 October 2017; Peer review comments to author: 6 November 2017; Revised manuscript received: 15 November 2017; Accepted: 15 November 2017; Publication date: 9 January 2018.

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