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Home / Drugs / Starting with C / Chloral hydrate
Chloral hydrate

A hypnotic and sedative used in the treatment of insomnia. The safety margin is too narrow for chloral hydrate to be used as a general anesthetic in humans, but it is commonly used for that purpose in animal experiments. It is no longer considered useful as an anti-anxiety medication. [PubChem]
BrandsAquachloral Supprettes
CategoriesHypnotics and Sedatives
PackagersAmerifit Inc.
Bio Pharm Inc.
Breckenridge Pharmaceuticals
Dispensing Solutions
G & W Labs
G Pohl Boskamp GmbH and Co. KG
International Laboratories Inc.
Letco Medical Inc.
Major Pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceutical Association
Pharmascience Inc.
Physicians Total Care Inc.
United Research Laboratories Inc.
Vintage Pharmaceuticals Inc.


Mainly used as a hyponotic in the treatment of insomnia; however, it is only effective as a hypnotic for short-term use. May be used as a routine sedative preoperatively to decrease anxiety and cause sedation and/or sleep with respiration depression or cough reflex.


Metabolized by the liver and erythrocytes to form trichloroethanol, an active metabolite. This reaction is catalyzed by alcohol dehydrogenase and other enzymes. Oxidation of chloral hydrate and trichloroethanol to trichloroacetic acid in the liver and kidneys also occurs to a lesser extent. Trichloroethanol also undergoes glucuronidation to produce an inactive metabolism.


Rapidly absorbed in the GI tract following oral or rectal administration. Chloral hydrate and its active metabolite, trichloroethanol, have been detected in CSF, umbilical cord blood, fetal blood, and amniotic fluid.

route of elimination

Trichloroethanol, trichloroethanol glucuronide, and trichloroacetic acid are excreted in the urine. Some trichloroethanol glucuronide may be secreted into bile and excreted in the feces.