Martin H. Plawecki, David Crabb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Much has been learned about the metabolism and pharmacokinetics of ethanol through study of the enzymes participating in its metabolism, the effects of genetic variants in these enzymes on risk of alcoholism and ethanol pharmacokinetics, and pharmacokinetic modeling. Despite the short, well-characterized metabolic pathway and straightforward absorption and distribution of ethanol, there remains substantial variability in individual blood alcohol levels after standard doses of ethanol. These differences probably underlie different responses to ethanol, confound research on ethanol effects on the nervous system, and may contribute to individual risk of ethanol use disorders. This chapter reviews metabolism of ethanol, and emphasizes the value of pharmacokinetic modeling as a way to understand how the body handles ethanol and as a tool in studying ethanol effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-69
Number of pages15
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
StatePublished - 2014


  • Alcohol dehydrogenase
  • Aldehyde dehydrogenase
  • Cytochrome P450 2E1
  • Ethanol
  • Pharmacokinetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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