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December 6, 1958


Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

From the Georgetown Medical Division, District of Columbia General Hospital, and the Department of Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine. Mr. Braun is a Student Fellow of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.

JAMA. 1958;168(14):1882-1885. doi:10.1001/jama.1958.63000140001012

Ethyl alcohol, when ingested by patients with certain systemic diseases, may give rise to severe pain in the organ or organs involved by the disease process. At first, alcohol-induced pain was reported only in patients with Hodgkin's disease, and as a result was considered to be specific for this condition.1 The most definitive statement supporting this phenomenon appeared in the Annotations of the British Medical Journal1j and is quoted as follows: "Enough evidence has now accumulated to show that alcohol-induced pain in Hodgkin's disease is not just another of those clinical curiosities of little importance in the practical management of patients. So far this symptom has been reported only in Hodgkin's disease; it does not seem to occur in other types of malignant lymphomata or other neoplastic conditions."

Recently, reports of similar pain in conditions other than Hodgkin's disease have become more prominent in the medical literature2