Alcohol Flush Reaction

Definition: Flushing of the face, neck, and shoulders after the ingestion of alcohol, often accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and palpitations. The alcohol flush reaction is seen in approximately 50% of some Mongoloid (Asian) groups and is caused by an inherited deficiency of the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase which catalyses the breakdown of acetaldehyde. The reaction also occurs when alcohol is taken by people receiving treatment with alcohol sensitizing drugs such as disulfiram (Antabuse), which inhibit aldehyde dehydrogenase.

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