iodine (Topical route)

Pronunciation

EYE-oh-dine

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Aplicare One Tincture Of Iodine
  • Iodex
  • Iodoflex
  • Iodosorb

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Swab
  • Ointment
  • Tincture
  • Dressing
  • Gel/Jelly

Therapeutic Class: Antibacterial

Uses For iodine

Topical iodine is used to prevent and treat infections that may occur in minor scrapes and cuts. It works by killing bacteria that can cause infections.

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Before Using iodine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For iodine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to iodine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Use of topical iodine is not recommended for newborn infants because it may cause skin and thyroid problems.

Geriatric

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of topical iodine in the elderly with use in other age groups, iodine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of iodine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Animal bites or
  • Deep wounds or
  • Serious burns—The chance of side effects may be increased

Proper Use of iodine

Use iodine only as directed.

iodine is for external use only. Do not swallow it.

Keep iodine away from the eyes because it may cause irritation. If you should accidentally get some in your eyes, wash it away with water immediately.

Do not use topical iodine on deep, puncture wounds, animal bites, or serious burns. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

Do not cover the wound to which you have applied topical iodine with a tight dressing or bandage since this may increase the chance of side effects.

Dosing

The dose of iodine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of iodine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For topical dosage form (tincture):
    • For minor bacterial skin infections:
      • Adults and children 1 month of age and over—Use when necessary, according to the directions on the label or your doctor's instructions. Do not use for more than ten days.
      • Infants and children under 1 month of age—Use is not recommended.

To help clear up your infection completely, it is very important that you keep using topical iodine for the full time of treatment. Do not miss any doses.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of iodine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using iodine

Check with your doctor if the skin problem for which you are using topical iodine becomes worse, or if you develop a constant irritation such as itching or burning that was not present before you started using iodine.

iodine can stain your skin and clothing. Alcohol may be used to remove iodine stain on the skin. Stains on clothing can be removed by washing and rinsing them in ammonia diluted with water. Stains on starched linens can be removed by washing them in soap and water.

iodine Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Rare
  • Blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of skin
Symptoms of overdose (when swallowed)
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • nausea
  • not being able to pass urine
  • thirst, severe
  • vomiting

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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