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Isopropyl Alcohol

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 5, 2024.

Excipient (pharmacologically inactive substance)

What is it?

Isopropyl alcohol (C3H8O), also known as rubbing alcohol, is an alcoholic mixture intended for external use as an antiseptic; it usually contains 70% by volume of absolute alcohol or isopropyl alcohol; the remainder consists of water, denaturants, and perfume oils; used as a rubefacient for muscle and joint aches and pains.[1]

Isopropyl alcohol 70% is used as an ingredient in alcohol swabs and alcohol wipes for wound cleaning, it is found in hand sanitizers, and in ear drops to prevent swimmer's ear. It may also be found in oral mouthwash solutions; it is important that isopropyl alcohol is not swallowed as it toxic and may be fatal in high enough quantities. Isopropyl alcohol can also be found in cleaning supplies, paint thinners and perfumes. In the pharmaceutical industry, isopropyl alcohol may be used in small, safe quantities in capsule or tablet manufacturing.[1][2]

List of medications using Isopropyl Alcohol


  1. [1] Medical Dictionary. Rubbing alcohol. Accessed April 14, 2012.
  2. [2]Fischer Scientific. MSDS, Material Safety Data Sheet. Accessed April 14, 2012.

Further information

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