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Home / Drugs / Starting with E / Ethanol

A clear, colorless liquid rapidly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and distributed throughout the body. It has bactericidal activity and is used often as a topical disinfectant. It is widely used as a solvent and preservative in pharmaceutical preparations as well as serving as the primary ingredient in alcoholic beverages. [PubChem]
Alcare Hand Degermer
Denatured Alcohol Cd-10
Denatured Alcohol Cd-5
Denatured Alcohol Cd-5a
Denatured Alcohol Sd-1
Denatured Alcohol Sd-13a
Denatured Alcohol Sd-17
Denatured Alcohol Sd-23a
Denatured Alcohol Sd-28
Denatured Alcohol Sd-30
Denatured Alcohol Sd-39b
Denatured Alcohol Sd-39c
Denatured Alcohol Sd-3a
Denatured Alcohol Sd-40m
Ethanol Absolute
Ethanol Absolute Bp
Ethanol, Silent Spirit
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 10%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 20%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 30%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 40%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 5%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 50%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 60%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 70%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 80%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 95%
Ethyl Alcohol & Water, 96%
Jaysol S
Methylated Spirit Mineralised
Reagent Alcohol
Tecsol C
Thiofaco M-50
CategoriesAnti-Infective Agents, Local
Central Nervous System Depressants
ManufacturersMiles laboratories inc
PackagersAmerican Regent
Cixi Zhixin Bird Clean Care Products Co. Ltd.
Hope Pharmaceuticals
Hospira Inc.
Luitpold Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Mead Johnson and Co.
Medical Techniques LLC
Prometic Pharma Inc.
Weleda Inc.
SynonymsAbsolute Alcohol
Absolute Ethanol
Alcohol Anhydrous
Alcohol, Dehydrated
Alcohol, Diluted
Alcool Ethylique
Alcool Etilico
Alkoholu Etylowego
Beta-Aminoethyl Alcohol
Caswell No. 426
Dehydrated Ethanol
Denatured Alcohol
Denatured Ethanol
Ethanol 200 Proof
Ethanol Anhydrous
Ethanol Extra Pure
Ethyl Alcohol
Ethyl Alcohol Anhydrous
Ethyl Alcohol, Anhydrous
Ethyl Alcohol, Denatured
Ethyl Hydrate
Ethyl Hydroxide
HSDB 531
USAF EK-1597


For therapeutic neurolysis of nerves or ganglia for the relief of intractable chronic pain in such conditions as inoperable cancer and trigeminal neuralgia (tic douloureux), in patients for whom neurosurgical procedures are contraindicated.


Alcohol produces injury to cells by dehydration and precipitation of the cytoplasm or protoplasm. This accounts for its bacteriocidal and antifungal action. When alcohol is injected in close proximity to nerve tissues, it produces neuritis and nerve degeneration (neurolysis). Ninety to 98% of ethanol that enters the body is completely oxidized. Ethanol is also used as a cosolvent to dissolve many insoluble drugs and to serve as a mild sedative in some medicinal formulations. Ethanol also binds to GABA, glycine, NMDA receptors and modulates their effects. Ethanol is also metabolised by the hepatic enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase.

mechanism of action

Ethanol affects the brain’s neurons in several ways. It alters their membranes as well as their ion channels, enzymes, and receptors. Alcohol also binds directly to the receptors for acetylcholine, serotonin, GABA, and the NMDA receptors for glutamate. The sedative effects of ethanol are mediated through binding to GABA receptors and glycine receptors (alpha 1 and alpha 2 subunits). It also inhibits NMDA receptor functioning. In its role as an anti-infective, ethanol acts as an osmolyte or dehydrating agent that disrupts the osmotic balance across cell membranes.


Oral, rat LD50: 5628 mg/kg. Symptoms and effects of overdose include nausea, vomiting, CNS depression, acute respiratory failure or death and with chronic use, severe health problems, such as liver and brain damage.


Hepatic. Metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2E1.


Rapidly absorbed.

drug interactions

Abacavir: Abacavir is partly metabolized through the alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme system. Alcohol increases the area under the curve (about 41%) of Abacavir. Interaction does not appear to be clinically significant.

Tizanidine: Ethanol increases the adverse effects of Tizanidine. The CNS depressant effects of these agents are additive.

Triprolidine: Triprolidine may enhance the CNS depressant effects of Ethanol.