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IACUC Guidelines for Using Avertin® (2,2,2 Tribromoethanol)

Avertin® is a non-pharmaceutical grade compound. The use of non-pharmaceutical grade compounds is regulated by the federal USDA Animal Welfare Act, the rules of which are applied to all vertebrate research animals at the University of Minnesota. Prior to using Avertin®, scientific justification must be reviewed and approved by the University IACUC.

USDA Policy 3:

Investigators are expected to use pharmaceutical-grade medications whenever they are available, even in acute procedures. Non-pharmaceutical-grade chemical compounds should only be used after specific review and approval by the IACUC for reasons such as scientific necessity or non-availability of an acceptable veterinary or human pharmaceutical-grade product. Cost savings alone are not an adequate justification for using non-pharmaceutical grade compounds in animals. See

The recommended Avertin® dose from the University of Minnesota RAR website for rodents is 225-240 mg/kg IP or 80-120 mg/kg IV.
Avertin® must be prepared and stored using these guidelines:

  1. Sterile filter with 0.2 micron filter
  2. Store and use under sterile conditions
  3. Store in the dark bottle or foil covered container
  4. Store stock and working stock solutions at 4°C
  5. Do not use if the solution becomes discolored or has a precipitate
  6. Check pH before each use and use only when greater than pH 5
  7. Discard all solutions after 4 months, including the stock solution
  8. Label all containers with name and concentration of drug, date prepared and initials of person making the solution

Failure to follow these guidelines may reduce potency of the drug and therefore efficacy, result in necrosis at injection site and possible death of animals.

Reference from the NIH Office of Animal Care and Use:

“If Avertin is improperly prepared or stored in the light, it will break down into dibromoacetic acid and hydrobromic acid which can be lethal in 24 hours. Freshly mixed solutions are strongly recommended for safe use. The solution can be kept as long as 4 months if it is stored in the dark at 4 degrees C. The solution should be tested to ensure that it has a pH >5.”
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