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Chloral hydrate

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Chloral hydrate chemical structure
Chloral hydrate

IUPAC chemical name
CAS number
302-17-0
ATC code
 ?
Chemical formula C2HCl3O · H2O
Molecular weight 165.5gmol-1
Bioavailability  ?
Metabolism  ?
Elimination half-life  ?
Excretion  ?
Pregnancy category  ?
Legal status Schedule IV
Routes of administration Oral capsule/syrup, Rectal suppository

Chloral hydrate, also known as trichloroacetaldehyde monohydrate, 2,2,2-trichloro-1,1-ethanediol, and under the tradenames Aquachloral, Novo-Chlorhydrate, Somnos, Noctec, and Somnote, is a sedative and hypnotic drug as well as a chemical reagent and precursor. Its chemical formula is C2HCl3O · H2O.

It is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia and as a sedative before minor medical or dental treatment. It has been largely displaced by the development of benzodiazepines. It was also formerly used as in veterinary medicine as a general anesthetic.

In therapeutic doses for insomnia it is effective within sixty minutes, it is rapidly metabolized into trichloroethanol and trichloroacetic acid. Higher doses can depress respiration and blood pressure. An overdose is marked by confusion, convulsions, nausea and vomiting, severe drowsiness, slow and irregular breathing, cardiac arrhythmia and weakness. It may also cause liver damage. It is moderately addictive. Chronic use can cause dependency and withdrawal symptoms. It can potentiate various anticoagulants and is weakly mutagenic in vitro and in vivo.

It was discovered through the chlorination of ethanol in 1832 by Justus von Liebig in Giessen. It was widely abused and misprescribed in the late 19th century.

A solution of chloral hydrate in alcohol is called "knockout drops" used in Mickey Finns.

It is a minor side-product of the chlorination of water; concentrations rarely exceed 5 micrograms per litre (µg/l).

The anhydrous form is an intermediate in insecticide and herbicide manufacture (including DDT, dichlorvos, and naled).

Chloral hydrate is a schedule IV controlled substance in the United States.

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