Serial serum creatine phosphokinase
(CPK) levels were determined in a series
of 50 patients following cessation of a
heavy drinking spree. Despite the fact
that only six patients had overt clinical
evidence of an acute myopathy, CPK
levels were elevated in 21 of 24 patients with delirium tremens (DTs) and
in 15 of 20 patients with acute alcoholism without myopathy or DTs. The
CPK level was normal in 11 chronic
alcoholics with no history of recent
drinking. A typical pattern of CPK elevations was noted. Following a lag of
24 to 48 hours during which CPK levels
were normal, levels rose rapidly reaching a peak in four to five days and then
fell to normal. Spinal fluid levels of
CPK were zero even in the presence of
marked elevations in serum CPK.
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