Skip to Content

Merthiolate

Generic Name: Benzalkonium Chloride (BEN zal KOE nee um klor ide)
Brand Name: Antimicrobial Cleanser, CureChrome, HandClens 2 in 1, Merthiolate, Neosporin Wound Cleanser

Medically reviewed on September 5, 2018

Uses of Merthiolate:

  • It is used to prevent skin infections.
  • It is used to clean wounds.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Merthiolate?

  • If you have an allergy to benzalkonium chloride or any other part of Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride).
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you have a very bad burn or cut.
  • If you have an animal bite or a deep puncture wound.
  • If a large area needs to be treated.

This medicine may interact with other drugs or health problems.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Merthiolate?

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride). This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • If signs get worse or last for more than 7 days, talk with the doctor.
  • Do not use large amounts of Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride). Do not use over a large area, raw skin, or blisters. Talk with the doctor.
  • Use with care in a child younger than 2 years of age. Talk with the doctor.
  • This medicine may cause harm if swallowed. If Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride) is swallowed, call a doctor or poison control center right away.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride) while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your baby.

How is this medicine (Merthiolate) best taken?

Use Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Do not take Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride) by mouth. Use on your skin only. Keep out of your mouth, nose, ears, and eyes (may burn).
  • Wash your hands before and after use. Do not wash your hands after use if putting this on your hand.
  • Clean affected part before use. Make sure to dry well.
  • Put on affected skin and let dry.
  • The treatment area may be covered with a dressing.
  • To clean a wound, put on affected skin and wipe with sterile gauze.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Use a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not use 2 doses or extra doses.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs or symptoms of infection.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness.
  • Very bad skin irritation.

What are some other side effects of Merthiolate?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Merthiolate?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

Consumer information use

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride), please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

More about Merthiolate (benzalkonium chloride topical)

Consumer resources

Other brands: Neosporin Wound Cleanser, CureChrome, HandClens 2 in 1

Related treatment guides

Hide