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What Are the Treatments for Allergic Reaction to Alcohol?

MayoClinic.com indicates that more often than not, some people are actually experiencing alcohol intolerance when they believe they are experiencing symptoms of an alcohol allergy 12. Alcohol intolerance is a genetic condition characterized by the body’s difficulty in breaking down alcohol 12. This intolerance is caused by a deficiency in the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). This enzyme is needed to metabolize alcohol into acetic acid or vinegar. When alcohol intolerance occurs, the toxicity that occurs in the body increases; the resulting symptoms are the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins 12. Treatment is similar to other food allergy remedies.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Antihistamines

For mild cases of alcohol intolerance, a patient’s physician may recommend he take an over-the-counter antihistamine 12. An antihistamine can reduce the reactive symptoms caused by the irritants in the alcohol. An antihistamine can also help to relieve symptoms of itching or the development of hives as a result of the consumption of alcohol.

Epinephrine

Allergic Reaction Rash to Alcoholic Drinks

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In moderate to severe cases of alcohol intolerance, a patient’s physician may provide her with a prescription for epinephrine 12. Epinephrine is administered as a shot of adrenaline in the form of an autoinjector. An autoinjector is a syringe that resembles a pen that contains individual doses of epinephrine.

The autoinjector is inserted into the thigh for quick administration and distribution throughout the body via the femoral artery. Patients should carry an autoinjector with them at all times in the event that they consume alcohol and experience a reaction.

  • In moderate to severe cases of alcohol intolerance, a patient’s physician may provide her with a prescription for epinephrine 1.
  • An autoinjector is a syringe that resembles a pen that contains individual doses of epinephrine.

Inhaler

Patients with asthma who also have an alcohol intolerance report various symptoms related to difficulty in breathing 12. For this reason, asthma patients may be prescribed an inhaler, if they do not already use one. Similarly, asthma patients should always carry their inhaler as a point of precaution.

Abstinence

Anti-Inflammatory and Antihistamine Comparison

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As a part of the treatment plan for alcohol intolerance, physicians generally advise patients to abstain from consuming alcohol, because the symptoms can often vary, making it difficult for the patient to seek immediate treatment 12.

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