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chlorhexidine gluconate (oral rinse)

Pronunciation

Generic Name: chlorhexidine gluconate (oral rinse) (klor HEX i deen)
Brand Name: Peridex, Periogard

What is chlorhexidine gluconate?

Chlorhexidine gluconate is a germicidal mouthwash that reduces bacteria in the mouth.

Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is used to treat gingivitis (swelling, redness, bleeding gums). Chlorhexidine gluconate is usually prescribed by a dentist.

Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is not for treating all types of gingivitis. Use the medication only to treat the condition your dentist prescribed it for. Do not share this medication with another person, even if they have the same gum symptoms you have.

Chlorhexidine gluconate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about chlorhexidine gluconate?

Do not give this medication to a child or teenager without a doctor's advice. This medicine may cause severe irritation or chemical burns in young children.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using chlorhexidine gluconate?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to chlorhexidine gluconate.

If you have periodontal disease, you may need special treatments while you are using chlorhexidine gluconate.

Do not give this medication to a child or teenager without a doctor's advice. This medicine may cause severe irritation or chemical burns in young children.

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether chlorhexidine gluconate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I use chlorhexidine gluconate?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Rinse your mouth with chlorhexidine gluconate twice daily after brushing your teeth.

Measure your dose using the cup provided with the medication. Swish the medicine in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Do not swallow the mouthwash.

Do not add water to the oral rinse. Do not rinse your mouth with water or other mouthwashes right after using chlorhexidine gluconate.

Chlorhexidine gluconate may leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Do not rinse your mouth to remove this taste after using the medication. You may rinse the medicine away and reduce its effectiveness.

Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before your gingivitis is completely cleared. Chlorhexidine gluconate will not treat a viral or fungal infection such as cold sores, canker sores, or oral thrush (yeast infection).

Visit your dentist at least every 6 months for preventive tooth and gum care.

Store chlorhexidine gluconate at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember, but brush your teeth first. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222, especially if a child has swallowed 4 or more ounces of this medicine.

An overdose of chlorhexidine would occur only if the medicine were swallowed. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, stomach pain, or the appearance of being drunk.

What should I avoid while taking chlorhexidine gluconate?

Chlorhexidine gluconate can stain teeth, dentures, tooth restorations, your tongue, or the inside of your mouth. Talk with your dentist about ways to remove staining from these surfaces. Stains may be harder to remove from false teeth that have scratches in their surfaces.

Avoid eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth just after using this medication.

Do not use any other mouthwash unless your doctor has told you to.

Chlorhexidine gluconate side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;

  • mouth ulcers; or

  • swelling of your salivary glands (underneath your jaws).

Common side effects may include:

  • mouth irritation;

  • dry mouth;

  • unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth; or

  • decreased taste sensation.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Chlorhexidine gluconate dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Gingivitis:

Usual dose: 15 mL (approximately 0.5 fluid ounces) swished in the mouth undiluted for 30 seconds and spit out 2 times a day

Comments:
-To decrease medicinal taste, patients should not rinse with water immediately after use.
-The mouthwash should be used after meals (e.g., after breakfast and dinner).

Use:
-Use between dental visits to treat gingivitis (characterized by redness and swelling of the gingivae and gingival bleeding upon probing)

Usual Adult Dose for Mucositis:

Usual dose: 15 mL (approximately 0.5 fluid ounces) swished in the mouth undiluted for 30 seconds and spit out 2 times a day

Comments:
-To decrease medicinal taste, patients should not rinse with water immediately after use.
-The mouthwash should be used after meals (e.g., after breakfast and dinner).

Use:
-Use between dental visits to treat gingivitis (characterized by redness and swelling of the gingivae and gingival bleeding upon probing)

Usual Adult Dose for Periodontitis:

Usual dose: 2.5 mg (1 periodontal chip) inserted into a periodontal pocket with probing pocket depth (PD) of 5 mm or more every 3 months
Maximum dose: Up to 8 periodontal chips/visit

Comments:
-The area should be isolated and dried before administration.
-Forceps should be used to insert the chip into the maximum depth of the periodontal pocket.
-The chip biodegrades completely and does not require removal.

Uses:
-Adjunct to scaling and root planing procedures for reduction of pocket depth in patients with periodontitis
-Part of a periodontal maintenance program, including good oral hygiene and scaling and root planing

Usual Adult Dose for Skin Disinfection, Preoperative:

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.75% Topical Solution/Hand Wash:
-Wet hands with water, then apply approximately 5 mL into cupped hands and wash vigorously for 30 seconds. Patients should wash and dry hands thoroughly.

Use: As a healthcare personnel hand wash to reduce bacteria that could cause disease

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2% Topical Solution:
-SURGICAL HAND SCRUB: Remove jewelry, wet hands and forearms with water and dispense 5 grams into hands. Hands and forearms should be washed/scrubbed for 3 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly with water; hands and forearms should be washed for an additional 3 minutes with 5 grams, rinsed with water, and thoroughly dried.
-HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL HAND WASH: Hands should be wet with water, then 5 grams of this drug should be applied into the hands and washed vigorously for 30 seconds. Hands should be rinsed and dried thoroughly.
-SKIN WOUND/GENERAL SKIN CLEANSER: The affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water, then the minimum amount of product to cover the area should be applied and washed gently. The affected area should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Uses:
-As a surgical hand scrub to significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands and forearms prior to surgery or patient care
-As a healthcare personnel hand wash to help reduce bacteria may cause disease
-As a skin wound/general skin cleanser to reduce bacteria on the skin

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 4% Topical Solution
-SURGICAL HAND SCRUB: wet hands and forearms with water and dispense 5 grams OR 1 sponge into hands, paying particular attention to the nails, cuticles, and interdigital spaces. Hands and forearms should be washed/scrubbed for 3 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly with water; hands and forearms should be washed for an additional 3 minutes with 5 grams and rinsed with water, and the treated areas should be dried thoroughly.
-HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL HAND WASH: Hands should be wet with water, then 5 grams of this drug should be applied into the hands and washed vigorously for 15 seconds. Hands should be rinsed and dried thoroughly.
-PATIENT PREOPERATIVE SKIN PREPARATION: The solution should be applied liberally to the surgical side and swabbed for at least 2 minutes; the area should be dried with a sterile towel. The site should then be swabbed for 2 minutes and dried with a sterile towel.
-SKIN WOUND AND GENERAL SKIN CLEANSING: The affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water, then the minimum amount of product to cover the area should be applied and washed gently. The affected area should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Comments:
-Nails, cuticles, and interdigital spaces may be washed with a nail brush/pick.
-If included, the sponge should be used to create a lather, and then used to apply the solution to the hands and forearms.

Uses:
-As a surgical hand scrub to significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands and forearms before surgery or patient care
-As a healthcare professional hand wash to reduce bacteria that may cause disease
-As a patient preoperative skin preparation for the preparation of the patient's skin prior to surgery
-As a skin wound and general skin cleanser

Usual Pediatric Dose for Skin Disinfection, Preoperative:

2 MONTHS AND OLDER:
Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.75% Topical Solution/Hand Wash:
-Wet hands with water, then apply approximately 5 mL into cupped hands and wash vigorously for 30 seconds. Patients should wash and dry hands thoroughly.

Use: As a healthcare personnel hand wash to reduce bacteria that could cause disease

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2% Topical Solution:
-SURGICAL HAND SCRUB: Remove jewelry, wet hands and forearms with water and dispense 5 grams into hands. Hands and forearms should be washed/scrubbed for 3 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly with water; hands and forearms should be washed for an additional 3 minutes with 5 grams, rinsed with water, and thoroughly dried.
-HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL HAND WASH: Hands should be wet with water, then 5 grams of this drug should be applied into the hands and washed vigorously for 30 seconds. Hands should be rinsed and dried thoroughly.
-SKIN WOUND/GENERAL SKIN CLEANSER: The affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water, and then the minimum amount of product to cover the area should be applied and washed gently. The affected area should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Uses:
-As a surgical hand scrub to significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands and forearms prior to surgery or patient care
-As a healthcare personnel hand wash to help reduce bacteria may cause disease
-As a skin wound/general skin cleanser to reduce bacteria on the skin

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 4% Topical Solution
-SURGICAL HAND SCRUB: Wet hands and forearms with water and dispense 5 grams OR 1 sponge into hands, paying particular attention to the nails, cuticles, and interdigital spaces. Hands and forearms should be washed/scrubbed for 3 minutes, and then rinsed thoroughly with water; hands and forearms should be washed for an additional 3 minutes with 5 grams of solution, rinsed with water, and the treated areas should be dried thoroughly.
-HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL HAND WASH: Hands should be wet with water, and then 5 grams of this drug should be applied into the hands and washed vigorously for 15 seconds. Hands should be rinsed and dried thoroughly.
-PATIENT PREOPERATIVE SKIN PREPARATION: The solution should be applied liberally to the surgical side and swabbed for at least 2 minutes; the area should be dried with a sterile towel. The site should then be swabbed for 2 minutes and dried with a sterile towel.
-SKIN WOUND AND GENERAL SKIN CLEANSING: The affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water, then the minimum amount of product to cover the area should be applied and washed gently. The affected area should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Comments:
-Nails, cuticles, and interdigital spaces may be washed with a nail brush/pick.
-If included, the sponge should be used to create a lather, and then used to apply topical solution to the hands and forearms.

Uses:
-As a surgical hand scrub to significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands and forearms before surgery or patient care
-As a healthcare professional hand wash to reduce bacteria that may cause disease
-As a patient preoperative skin preparation for the preparation of the patient's skin prior to surgery
-As a skin wound and general skin cleanser

What other drugs will affect chlorhexidine gluconate?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist or dentist can provide more information about chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01.

Date modified: January 10, 2017
Last reviewed: July 10, 2013

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