Elimination Half-life of Methanol During Hangover



Abstract: This paper reports the elimination half-life of methanol in human volunteers. Experiments were made during the morning after the subjects had consumed 1000–1500 ml red wine (9.5% w/v ethanol, 100 mg/1 methanol) the previous evening. The washout of methanol from the body coincided with the onset of hangover. The concentrations of ethanol and methanol in blood were determined indirectly by analysis of end-expired alveolar air. In the morning when bloodethanol dropped below the Km of liver alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) of about 100 mg/1 (2.2 mM), the disappearance half-life of ethanol was 21, 22, 18 and 15 min. in 4 test subjects respectively. The corresponding elimination half-lives of methanol were 213, 110, 133 and 142 min. in these same individuals. The experimental design outlined in this paper can be used to obtain useful data on elimination kinetics of methanol in human volunteers without undue ethical limitations. Circumstantial evidence is presented to link methanol or its toxic metabolic products, formaldehyde and formic acid, with the pathogenesis of hangover.