Authors studied records at a London hospital and found that one alcohol dependent patient who ingested 500ml of the gel was nine times over the legal UK driving limit.
Inquiries made to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Poisons Unit increased from 23 to 50 in the 16 months following the gels introduction to wards.
Authors recommend dispensers over 500ml should be made secure asjust 360ml of rub containing 80%ethanol could be life threatening.
They said: ‘Poisoning remains relatively uncommon but has increased since the widespread introduction of hand rub. Potentially serious clinical effects can occur with ingestion.’