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Chloroform is used as a laboratory solvent. It was previously administered by inhalation to induce anesthesia (a way to control pain during a surgery). 

How it works

Chloroform belongs to a class of medications called as anesthetics. It works by increasing the movements of certain ions in the nerve cells thereby producing the anesthetic effects. However, chloroform is not currently used in medical practice due to the harmful and unpredictable effects that it causes in various body systems. 

Common side effects

Vomiting, Nausea, Central nervous system depression, Cardiac depression, Fatigue, Dizziness, Eye irritation, Dry eye, Headache, Sore skin


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Expert advice

  • Inform your doctor if you have any liver problems as chloroform is hepatotoxic (causes damage to liver). 
  • Inform your doctor if you have diabetes as chloroform can lead to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
  • Chloroform when used for long-term at concentrations above 2% may cause respiratory arrest (failure of lung functions).
  • Do not drive or operate machinery even after chloroform effect wears off as it may still cause sleepiness and may impair your ability to think or react. 
  • Do not take if patient is allergic to Chloroform or any of its ingredients.
  • Do not take if patients being treated with adrenaline

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is chloroform soluble in water?
Chloroform is sparingly soluble in water. 

Q. Is chloroform safe to use?
Chloroform taken orally or inhaled may cause severe damage to the body. Consult your doctor before use.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)