Skip to content

Denatonium Benzoate

    Synonyms: Bitrex; Bitterguard; N-[2-(2,6-dimethylphenyl)amino]-2-oxoethyl]- N,N-diethylbenzenemethanaminium benzoate monohydrate; lignocaine benzyl benzoate.

    Description: Denatonium benzoate occurs as an odorless, very bitter tasting, white crystalline powder or granules.

    Chemical Name: Benzyldiethyl[(2,6-xylylcarbamolyl)methyl]ammonium benzoate anhydrous
    Benzyldiethyl[(2,6-xylylcarbamolyl)methyl]ammonium benzoate monohydrate

    Alcohol denaturant; flavoring agent.

    • Denatonium benzoate is among the most bitter of substances known and is detectable at concentrations of approximately 10 ppb.

    • In pharmaceutical and other industrial applications it is added to some products as a deterrent to accidental ingestion.

    • It is most commonly used at levels of 5–500 ppm.

    • Denatonium benzoate may also be used to replace brucine or quassin as a denaturant for ethanol.

    • In pharmaceutical formulations, denatonium benzoate has been used as a flavoring agent in placebo tablets, and in a topical formulation it has been used in an anti-nailbiting preparation.

    Denatonium benzoate is incompatible with strong oxidizing agents.

    Denatonium benzoate is generally regarded as a nonirritant and nonmutagenic substance. However, there has been a single report of contact urticaria attributed to denatonium benzoate occurring in a 30-year-old man who developed asthma and pruritus after using an insecticidal spray denatured with denatonium benzoate.

    Observe normal precautions appropriate to the circumstances and quantity of material handled. Containers should be kept tightly closed and handled in areas with good ventilation. Eye protection, gloves, and a dust mask are recommended. Denatonium benzoate is moderately toxic by ingestion and when heated to decomposition emits toxic vapors of NOx. Denatonium benzoate may also cause hypersensitization.