Allergic Response To Alcohol

True anaphylactic or anaphylactoid reactions to ALCOHOL (ethanol) are rare. Most reactions to ingested alcoholic beverages are secondary to other chemicals in the beverage such as yeasts, metabisulfite, papain, or dyes. However, there are reports of true allergic reactions in which the offending agent was shown to be the ethanol itself.

Symptoms of anaphylaxis have been reported to occur in several subjects following ingestion of beer and/or wine, and these symptoms were reproduced in one patient by administration of 95 percent eth-anol. Hives have been reported with ethanol ingestion, and hives on contact with ethanol have been reported for some Asian patients. Bronchospasm was precipitated in some asthmatic patients by administration of ethanol, and contact hypersensi-tivity to 50 percent ethanol solution was produced in 6 percent of subjects tested. These allergic responses differ from the ''flush'' reaction exhibited in individuals (especially Asians) with acetalde-hyde dehydrogenase abnormalities.

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