What is acute alcoholic myopathies?

Updated: Dec 28, 2017
  • Author: Courtney A Bethel, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Acute alcoholic myopathy should be considered in patients who, after binging on alcohol, present with muscle pain that mostly involves limb weakness and myoglobinuria. Note the following:

  • Significance of acute alcoholic myopathy is that the precipitation of myoglobin in the renal tubules can cause acute renal tubular necrosis
  • Aggressive hydration and, occasionally, administration of mannitol and furosemide to increase diuresis, are essential to maintain renal function
  • Alcohol, in addition to the acute syndrome of muscle necrosis, causes a more chronic myopathy associated with gradual progressive weakness and atrophy that usually involves the hip and shoulder girdle; this chronic myopathy does not result in myoglobinuria or elevated creatine kinase-MM (CK-MM) levels

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