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chlorhexidine topical

Pronunciation

Generic Name: chlorhexidine topical (klor HEX i deen TOP i kal)
Brand Name: Betasept, Biopatch, Calgon Vesta, ChloraPrep One-Step, Dyna-Hex, Hibiclens, Hibistat Towelette, Scrub Care Exidine, Spectrum-4

What is chlorhexidine topical?

Chlorhexidine is an antiseptic that fights bacteria.

Chlorhexidine topical (for the skin) is used to clean the skin to prevent infection that may be caused by surgery, injection, or skin injury.

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

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

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before using chlorhexidine topical?

You should not use chlorhexidine topical if you are allergic to it.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have any allergies to food, dyes, animals, or medicines.

It is not known whether chlorhexidine topical will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether chlorhexidine topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed if you are using this medicine to treat a skin condition in the breast area.

Be very careful when using chlorhexidine topical on a child younger than 2 months old. This medicine may cause severe irritation or chemical burns on a very young child.

How should I use chlorhexidine topical?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Do not take by mouth. Chlorhexidine topical is for use only on the skin.

Rinse the skin before applying chlorhexidine topical. Apply only enough medicine to cover the area you are treating. Do not apply this medicine to deep cuts, scrapes, or open skin wounds.

To use chlorhexidine topical soap, apply only enough to cover the area you are treating. Wash the area gently, then rinse thoroughly with plain water. Avoid using over large areas of skin.

This medicine is made under sterile conditions, but its contents are not sterilized. It is possible for bacteria to get inside the product and contaminate it, which could spread infection. To avoid contaminating your medicine with bacteria:

  • Use only the swab, pad, or applicator provided with your medicine.

  • If no applicator is provided, use only a clean cotton ball or cotton swab to apply this medicine.

  • Do not touch the tip of the medicine bottle with your fingers or touch it to your skin.

  • Do not dilute the medicine with water or other liquid.

  • Use the applicator (pad, swab, or other dressing) only once. Throw away after one use.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using chlorhexidine topical.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Do not freeze. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

If this medicine is packaged in a single-use foil wrapper or other container, use it only once. Throw away after one use, even if there is still medicine left in it. Do not save for later use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. 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?

An overdose of chlorhexidine topical is not expected to be dangerous. Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

What should I avoid while using chlorhexidine topical?

Avoid getting this medicine in your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina. If this does happen, rinse with water.

Avoid using other medicines on the areas you treat with chlorhexidine topical unless your doctor tells you to.

Avoid getting this medicine on your clothing or other fabrics. Do not use bleach to wash any fabric exposed to chlorhexidine or the medicine may cause a permanent stain.

Chlorhexidine topical side effects

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

Stop using chlorhexidine topical and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe burning, itching, or redness;

  • blistering or peeling;

  • swelling or severe skin rash; or

  • any other severe irritation of treated skin.

Less serious side effects are more likely, and you may have none at all.

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 topical 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 topical?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied chlorhexidine. 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 can provide more information about chlorhexidine topical.
  • 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: 5.02.

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

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