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Isopropyl alcohol (topical)

Generic Name: isopropyl alcohol (topical) (EYE doe PROE pil AL koe hol TOP i kal)
Brand Name: Butterfly Alcohol Pad, BD Single Use Swab, ...show all 7 brand names.

Medically reviewed: August 31, 2017

What is isopropyl alcohol?

Isopropyl alcohol kills or prevents the growth of bacteria on the skin.

Isopropyl alcohol topical (for use on skin) is used to help prevent bacterial skin infections from minor cuts or scrapes. Isopropyl alcohol is used in healthcare settings to prevent infection that may be caused by needle punctures.

Isopropyl alcohol is also used as a topical rub to help relieve minor muscle pain.

Isopropyl alcohol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.

Before taking this medicine

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using isopropyl alcohol on a deep puncture wound or a serious burn.

How should I use isopropyl alcohol?

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. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. Do not use isopropyl alcohol on open wounds or on sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, or irritated skin. If this product gets in your eyes, nose, mouth, rectum, or vagina, rinse with water.

Apply a small amount of this product to your skin using a clean cotton ball, cotton swab, or cotton gauze. Throw away the cotton applicator and use a new piece of cotton if you need to apply more isopropyl alcohol.

To use isopropyl alcohol for sore muscles, apply a generous amount to the skin and rub in until the alcohol dries.

Do not allow a child to use this product without supervision.

Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with isopropyl alcohol does not improve, or if it gets worse while using isopropyl alcohol.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

Isopropyl alcohol is flammable. Do not use near high heat or open flame. Do not smoke until the medicine has completely dried on your skin.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since isopropyl alcohol is used when needed, it does not have a regular dosing schedule.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed this product.

What should I avoid while using isopropyl alcohol?

Avoid getting this product in your eyes or mouth.

Isopropyl alcohol is not a substitute for other types of alcohol. Do not drink.

Isopropyl alcohol 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.

Isopropyl alcohol may cause burning, stinging, or a cold feeling where the medicine is applied.

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)

What other drugs will affect isopropyl alcohol?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied isopropyl alcohol. 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.

Further information

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.

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

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