Background: In Iran, methyl alcohol poisoning rarely occurs accidentally and usually occurs through abuse of contaminated ethanol. However, with proper and timely treatment complications and mortality of methanol poisoning can be prevented. In this study, the epidemiological profile of methanol poisoning in the Iranian society was investigated.
Methods: In this prospective cross-sectional study, 28 methanol poisoned patients referred to the department forensic medicine and toxicology of Loghman Hakim and Baharlu Hospitals were examined and their data were collected.
Results: Most of the patients (82.1%) were men. Mean age of patients was 29.3 ± 4.57 years. The most common cause of poisoning was drinking unknown contaminated alcoholic beverage (82.1%) without knowing the effects and risks. Most patients (57.1%) had mild decreased level of consciousness. 14.3% of patients developed toxic complications (blindness) at discharge and 17.9% of patients died at the hospital despite receiving appropriate treatment.
Conclusion: Considering the high frequency of methanol poisoning in young men without knowing the side effects and risks, it is necessary to educate youths about the effects of alcohol and alcoholic beverages, with special attention recognition of its potential complications. It is also essential to train medical staff, especially emergency physicians about symptoms, diagnostic keys and early treatment of alcohol poisoning to prevent sever complications such as visual loss and brain damage.