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Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
AHFS/ Micromedex Detailed Consumer Information
Legal status Schedule IV[1]
Routes Oral
Pharmacokinetic data
Protein binding 35–50%
CAS number 113-18-8 YesY
ATC code N05CM08
PubChem CID 5281077
DrugBank DB00189
ChemSpider 4444534 YesY
KEGG D00704 YesY
Chemical data
Formula C7H9ClO 
Mol. mass 144.598 g/mol
 N (what is this?)  (verify)

Ethchlorvynol/ˌɛθklɒrˈvnɒl/ is a sedative and hypnotic medication developed by Pfizer in the 1950s.[2] In the United States Abbott Laboratories used to sell it under the tradename Placidyl. During their heyday, they[clarification needed] were known on the street as "jelly-bellies" or "pickles", reflecting their appearance.[citation needed] Since Abbott and Banner Pharmacaps, which manufactured the generic version, discontinued production in 1999, ethchlorvynol has no longer been available in the United States.

Use and effects[edit]

Ethchlorvynol DOJ.jpg

Ethchlorvynol has been used to treat insomnia, but has been largely superseded and was only offered where an intolerance or allergy to other drugs exists. It is no longer prescribed in the United States due to unavailability, but it is still available in some countries and would still be considered legal to possess and use with a valid prescription.

Along with expected sedative effects of relaxation and drowsiness, ethchlorvynol can cause skin rashes, faintness, restlessness and euphoria. Early adjustment side effects can include nausea and vomiting, numbness, blurred vision, stomach pains and temporary dizziness. An overdose is marked by confusion, fever, peripheral numbness and weakness, reduced coordination and muscle control, slurred speech, reduced heartbeat, respiratory depression, and in extreme overdoses, coma and death.

It is addictive and after prolonged use can cause withdrawal symptoms including convulsions, hallucinations, and amnesia. Due to these problems, it is unusual for ethchlorvynol to be prescribed for periods exceeding seven days. During the late 1970s, ethchlorvynol was sometimes over-prescribed causing a minor epidemic of persons who quickly became addicted to this powerful drug. Occasional deaths would occur when addicted persons would try to inject the drug directly into a vein or an artery. Ethchlorvynol is not compatible with intravenous injection and serious injury (including the loss of limbs due to vascular injury) or death can occur when it is used in this manner.[3]


Ethchlorvynol is a member of the class of sedative-hypnotic carbinols, which includes methylparafynol and tert-amyl alcohol. It is not a barbituric acid derivative. The systematic name of ethchlorvynol is usually given as ethyl 2-chlorovinyl ethynyl carbinol or 1-chloro-3-ethylpent-1-en-4-yn-3-ol. Its empirical formula is C7H9ClO.

Ethchlorvynol is synthesized by the reaction of lithium acetylide with 1-chloro-1-penten-3-one in liquid ammonia, followed by acidic work-up.[2][4]

Ethchlorvynol synthesis.png


  1. ^ Green List: Annex to the annual statistical report on psychotropic substances (form P) 23rd edition. August 2003. International Narcotics Board, Vienna International Centre. Accessed 1 September 2005 (UTC)
  2. ^ a b A. Bavley, W.M. McLamore, U.S. Patent 2,746,900 Hypnotic Agent and Method of Making the Same (1956)
  3. ^ Glauser, F. L.; Smith, W. R.; Caldwell, A.; Hoshiko, M.; Dolan, G. S.; Baer, H.; Olsher, N. (1976). "Ethchlorvynol (Placidyl)-induced pulmonary edema". Annals of internal medicine 84 (1): 46–48. PMID 942681.  edit
  4. ^ McLamore, W. M.; P'an, S. Y.; Bavley, A. (1955). Journal of Organic Chemistry 20: 109. doi:10.1021/jo01119a018.