|CompTox Dashboard (EPA)|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||282.757 g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
|Melting point||73–79 °C (163–174 °F) |
|Boiling point||92–93 °C (198–199 °F) at 10 mmHg|
Tribromoethanol is an organobromine compound used as an anesthetic. It is used to anesthetize laboratory animals, particularly rodents, before surgery. As a solution in tert-amyl alcohol, it has the brand name Avertin. The tert-amyl alcohol acts as a weak hypnotic, in addition to improving the solubility of the tribromoethanol. Administered intravenously, tribromoethanol (Avertin) causes rapid and deep anesthesia followed by rapid and full postoperative recovery in small mammals.
In the first half of the 20th century, Avertin was also used in humans as a general anesthetic or basal narcotic to induce unconsciousness prior to the administration of other anesthetic agents. It was administered rectally as a retention enema or by intravenous injection. Its rectal use was particularly favored for pediatrics, head or neck surgery, or in mentally unstable or anxious patients. Electrophysiology studies showed that tribromoethanol acts as a positive allosteric modulator of the inhibitory GABAA and glycine receptors, a mechanism similar to that seen with the related compound 2,2,2-trichloroethanol. Bromal hydrate (2,2,2-tribromoethanol-1,1-diol), a compound also recognized to produce general anesthesia in animals, is metabolized to tribromoethanol.
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