What substance in chloroform makes us faint

chloroformDrug groupsAnestheticsChloroform is an active ingredient from the group of anesthetics that is no longer used medically due to its toxicity.

synonymous: chloroformum, trichloromethane, chloroformium, CHCl3


Medicines containing chloroform are no longer on the market in Switzerland. Chloroform is available as a pure substance in specialist shops. It was first synthesized in 1831.

Structure and properties

Chloroform (CHCl3, Mr = 119.4 g / mol) is a trichlorinated methane. It is a colorless, volatile liquid with a sweet odor and is hardly soluble in water. The boiling point is 61 ° C. The addition of ethanol prevents the substance from breaking down into toxic phosgene. Chloroform is not flammable.


Chloroform (ATC N01AB02) has anesthetic, analgesic and muscle relaxing properties.

application areas
  • As a solvent.
  • Chloroform was previously used as an inhalation anesthetic. Due to its toxicity, it is no longer used today.
  • Technical applications.

Chloroform can be used as an intoxicant and as an anesthetic. It is strongly advised against due to the possible undesirable effects.

unwanted effects

Chloroform is harmful to health:

  • Irritation to skin, respiratory tract and eyes
  • Toxic by inhalation, loss of consciousness
  • Mutagenic and teratogenic properties
  • Damage to organs, liver and kidney toxicity
  • Respiratory depression
  • Hypotension
  • Arrhythmia
  • Indigestion

In the case of a technical application, the information in the safety data sheet should therefore be carefully observed.

see also

Inhalation anesthetics

  • Davidson I.W., Sumner D.D., Parker J.C. Chloroform: a review of its metabolism, teratogenic, mutagenic, and carcinogenic potential. Drug Chem Toxicol, 1982, 5 (1), 1-87 Pubmed
  • swell
  • Safety data sheet
  • Winslow S.G., Gerstner H.B. Health aspects of chloroform - a review. Drug Chem Toxicol, 1978, 1 (3), 259-75 Pubmed
  • Wolf D.C., Butterworth B.E. Risk assessment of inhaled chloroform based on its mode of action. Toxicol Pathol, 1997, 25 (1), 49-52 Pubmed

Conflicts of Interest: None / Independent. The author has no relationships with the manufacturers and is not involved in the sale of the products mentioned.

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This article was last changed on April 19, 2020.
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