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IUPAC name
Other names
56073-10-0 YesY
ChEMBL ChEMBL233451 YesY
ChemSpider 10444663 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image
PubChem 41736
RTECS number GN4934750
Molar mass 523.42 g·mol−1
Melting point 228 to 230 °C (442 to 446 °F; 501 to 503 K)
Bioavailability 100%
Oral; dermal; inhalation (dusts) (for poisoning)
Metabolism slow, incomplete, hepatic
Slow; 20—130 days
Excretion faeces; very slow
X - Deadly poison
270 μg/kg (rat, oral)[inconsistent]
Except where noted otherwise, data is given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
 YesY verify (what isYesY/N?)
Infobox references

Brodifacoum is a highly lethal 4-hydroxycoumarin vitamin K antagonist anticoagulant poison. In recent years, it has become one of the world's most widely used pesticides. It is typically used as a rodenticide but is also used to control larger mammalian pests such as possum.[2]

Brodifacoum has an especially long half-life in the body, which ranges to several months, requiring prolonged treatment with antidotal vitamin K for both human and pet poisonings.


Brodifacoum is a 4-hydroxycoumarin anticoagulant, with a similar mode of action to its historical predecessors dicoumarol and warfarin. However, due to very high potency and long duration of action (elimination half-life of 20 – 130 days), it is characterised as a "second generation" or "superwarfarin" anticoagulant.[3]

Brodifacoum inhibits the enzyme vitamin K epoxide reductase. This enzyme is needed for the reconstitution of the vitamin K in its cycle from vitamin K-epoxide, and so brodifacoum steadily decreases the level of active vitamin K in the blood. Vitamin K is required for the synthesis of important substances including prothrombin, which is involved in blood clotting. This disruption becomes increasingly severe until the blood effectively loses any ability to clot.

In addition, brodifacoum (as with other anticoagulants in toxic doses) increases permeability of blood capillaries; the blood plasma and blood itself begins to leak from the smallest blood vessels. A poisoned animal will suffer progressively worsening internal bleeding, leading to shock, loss of consciousness, and eventually death.

Brodifacoum is highly lethal to mammals and birds, and extremely lethal to fish. It is a highly cumulative poison, due to its high lipophilicity and extremely slow elimination.

Following are acute LD50 values for a variety of animals:

* rats (oral) 0.27 mg/kg b.w.[4]
* mice (oral) 0.40 mg/kg b.w.[4]
* rabbits (oral) 0.30 mg/kg b.w.[4]
* guinea-pigs (oral) 0.28 mg/kg b.w.[4]
* squirrels (oral) 0.13 mg/kg b.w.[5]
* cats (oral)[6] 0.25 mg/kg[7][4] — 25 mg/kg [8][9][10][11][12][4]
* dogs (oral) 0.25 — 3.6 mg/kg b.w.[8][9][7][10][4][11]
* birds LD50 values for various birds varies from about 1 mg/kg b.w. — 20 mg/kg b.w.[3]
* fish — LC50 for fish:
** trout (96 hours exposure) 0.04 ppm[13]

Given these extremely high toxicities in various mammals, brodifacoum is classified as "extremely toxic" (LD50 < 1.0 mg/kg b.w.) and "very toxic" (T+; LD50 < 25 mg/kg b.w.), respectively. Because of its persistency, cumulative potential and high toxicities for various wildlife species, it is also considered an environmental pollutant (N; noxious to the environment). The readiness of brodifacoum to penetrate intact skin should be noted, and brodifacoum and commercial preparations containing it should be handled with respective care and precaution because of its skin resorptivity.

The estimated average fatal dose for an adult man (60 kg b.w.) is about 15 mg, without treatment.[3] However, due to low bait concentrations (usually 10 – 50 mg/kg bait, i.e. 0.001 — 0.005%) and slow onset of symptoms, and the existence of a highly effective antidote (appropriately dosed vitamin K1), brodifacoum is considered to be of relatively low hazard to humans. A caveat is that the poisoning must be identified specifically, so that vitamin K supplementation and monitoring may be maintained for periods that range up to months. The same is true for pets which ingest the substance.

Brand names[edit]

DOC Notice to hikers of poison baits in New Zealand.
Baitbox from Finland containing brodifacoum

Brodifacoum is marketed under a large variety of trade names, including Vertox, Biosnap, d-CON, Finale, Fologorat, Havoc, Jaguar, Klerat, Matikus, Mouser, Pestoff, Ratak+, Rodend, Rodenthor, Ratsak, Talon, Volak, Rakan, Volid, and Rataquill Colombia.

Treatment for humans[edit]

The primary antidote to brodifacoum poisoning is immediate administration of vitamin K1 (dosage for humans: initially slow intravenous injections of 10–25 mg repeated all 3–6 hours until normalisation of the prothrombin time; then 10 mg orally four times daily as a "maintenance dose"). It is an extremely effective antidote, provided the poisoning is caught before excessive bleeding ensues. As high doses of brodifacoum can affect the body for many months, the antidote must be administered regularly for a long period (several months, in keeping with the substance's half-life) with frequent monitoring of the prothrombin time.[14]

If unabsorbed poison is still in the digestive system, gastric lavage followed by administration of activated charcoal may be required.

Further treatments to be considered include infusion of blood or plasma to counteract hypovolemic shock; and in severe cases, infusion of blood clotting factor concentrate.

Another potential treatment is phenobarbital, which is believed to accelerate the metabolism of some anticoagulants via enzyme induction.[citation needed]

Poisoning case reports[edit]

There have been case reports of brodifacoum intoxication in the human medical literature.

In one report, a woman deliberately consumed over 1.5 kilograms of rat bait, constituting about 75 mg brodifacoum, but made a full recovery after receiving conventional medical treatment.[15]

In another report, a 17-year-old boy presented to the hospital with a severe bleeding disorder. It was discovered that he habitually smoked a mixture of brodifacoum and marijuana. Despite treatment with vitamin K, the bleeding disorder persisted for several months. He eventually recovered.[16]

Environmental toxicology[edit]

The American Bird Conservancy has advocated[when?] that brodifacoum not be used by the general public. They cite several studies indicating that secondary poisonings of predatory birds and animals are common due to the extreme persistence of the pesticide within both target and non-target species. It may also be dispersed by insects that feed on poisoned bait without harm and retain the pesticide within their bodies.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Merck Index, 11th Edition, 1368
  2. ^ Eason, C.T. and Wickstrom, M. Vertebrate pesticide toxicology manual, New Zealand Department of Conservation
  3. ^ a b c "Brodifacoum (HSG 93, 1995)". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Brodifacoum (PDS)". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  5. ^ Matschke, George H.; Baril, Steve F; Blaskiewicz, Raymond W. (December 1983). "Population Reduction of Richardson's Ground Squirrels Using a Brodifacoum Bait". Great Plains Wildlife Damage Control Workshop Proceedings --- University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
  6. ^ Published LD50 values of brodifacoum for cats vary widely, from 25 mg kg-1 (Rammell et al., 1984;Godfrey, 1985) to 0.25 mg kg-1(Haydock and Eason, 1997)
  7. ^ a b Brodifacoum at
  8. ^ a b KAUKEINEN, D.E. 1979. Experimental rodenticide (Talon) passes lab tests; moving to field trials in pest control industry. Pest Control 46(1):19-21.
  9. ^ a b Brodifacoum (Talon, Havoc) - Chemical Profile 1/85
  10. ^ a b MSDS Data Sheet for TALON RAT AND MOUSE KILLER
  11. ^ a b The Veterinarian’s Guide to accidental rodenticideingestion by dogs & cats
  12. ^ Brodifacoum residues in target and non-target species followin an aerial poisoning operation on Motuihe Island, Hauraki Gulf, NEW ZEALAND Pdf
  13. ^ "Pest Control Product Labels And MSDS". Retrieved 2013-12-08. 
  14. ^ Olmos V, López CM (2007). "Brodifacoum poisoning with toxicokinetic data" 45 (5). pp. 487–9. doi:10.1080/15563650701354093. PMID 17503253. 
  15. ^ Lipton R.A., Klass E.M. (1984). "Human ingestion of a 'superwarfarin' rodenticide resulting in a prolonged anticoagulant effect". JAMA 252: 3004–3005. doi:10.1001/jama.252.21.3004. 
  16. ^ La Rosa F, Clarke S, Lefkowitz J. B. (1997). "Brodifacoum intoxication with marijuana smoking". Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine 121: 67–69. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Tasheva, M. (1995). Environmental Health Criteria 175: Anticoagulant rodenticides. World Health Organisation: Geneva.
  • "Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital (a near fatal case of brodifacoum poisoning)". New England Journal of Medicine 356 (2): 174. 2007. doi:10.1056/NEJMcpc069032.