|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2013)|
|Jmol-3D images||Image 1|
|Molar mass||523.42 g mol−1|
|Melting point||228–230 °C|
|Solubility in water||Insoluble|
|Oral; dermal; inhalation (dusts) (for poisoning)|
|Metabolism||slow, incomplete, hepatic|
|Slow; 20—130 days|
|Excretion||faeces; very slow|
|X - Deadly poison|
|LD50||270 μg/kg (rat, oral)[inconsistent]|
|Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)|
|(what is: / ?)|
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.
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.
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.
Following are acute LD50 values for a variety of animals:
|* rats (oral)||0.27 mg/kg b.w.|
|* mice (oral)||0.40 mg/kg b.w.|
|* rabbits (oral)||0.30 mg/kg b.w.|
|* guinea-pigs (oral)||0.28 mg/kg b.w.|
|* squirrels (oral)||0.13 mg/kg b.w.|
|* cats (oral)||0.25 mg/kg — 25 mg/kg |
|* dogs (oral)||0.25 — 3.6 mg/kg b.w.|
|* birds||LD50 values for various birds varies from about 1 mg/kg b.w. — 20 mg/kg b.w.|
|* fish — LC50 for fish:|
|** trout (96 hours exposure)||0.04 ppm|
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. 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.
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
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.
Poisoning case reports
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.
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.
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.
- Merck Index, 11th Edition, 1368
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- 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)
- Brodifacoum at InChem.com
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- La Rosa, F, Clarke, S. & Lefkowitz, J. B. (1997) Brodifacoum intoxication with marijuana smoking. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine 121:67-69.
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- "Case Records of the Massachusetts General Hospital (a near fatal case of brodifacoum poisoning)". New England Journal of Medicine 356 (2). 2007.