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Methoxyflurane
Systematic (IUPAC) name
2,2-dichloro-1,1-difluoro-1-methoxy-ethane
Identifiers
CAS number 76-38-0
ATC code N01AB03
PubChem 4116
DrugBank APRD00744
Chemical data
Formula C3H4Cl2F2O 
Mol. mass 164.966 g/mol
Synonyms 2,2-dichloro-1,1-difluoroethyl methyl ether
Pharmacokinetic data
Metabolism 70%
Therapeutic considerations
Pregnancy cat.  ?
Legal status Schedule 4 (S4)
Routes Inhalation
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Methoxyflurane (C3H4Cl2F2O, or 2,2-dichloro-1,1-difluoroethyl methyl ether) was commonly used as an inhalational anaesthetic in the 1960s and early 1970s. It is classified as a halogenated hydrocarbon under the ATC code N01 (Anesthetics) subgroup of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System, but its chemical structure is more accurately characterised as a halogenated ether.

The clinical use of methoxyflurane in human medicine has largely been abandoned because of detrimental effects on the kidneys, due to fluoride ions being produced by its metabolism in the kidney, and detrimental effects on the liver, including hepatic necrosis requiring liver transplant or causing death. (The kidney effect was considered to be dose-dependent, smaller doses for shorter periods being considered relatively safer).

Its minimum alveolar concentration (MAC) is 0.2%, hence it is extremely potent. It has a high lipid solubility (oil:gas coefficient around 950) giving it a very slow onset/offset, this being undesirable for anesthetic purposes.

Even so, methoxyflurane is a powerful analgesic (pain-relieving) agent, at well below full anaesthetic doses. The vapour is sometimes said to have a pleasant, fruity aroma.

Methoxyflurane is used extensively in the Australian Defence Force and Australian ambulance services as an emergency analgesic.

Methoxyflurane is also widely used as an anesthetic and analgesic in rodents in a lab animal setting.

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