Spectrum-4 Side Effects
Generic name: chlorhexidine topical
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Aug 9, 2022.
Note: This document contains side effect information about chlorhexidine topical. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Spectrum-4.
For the Consumer
Applies to chlorhexidine topical: oral liquid, oral solution
Other dosage forms:
Side effects requiring immediate medical attention
Along with its needed effects, chlorhexidine topical (the active ingredient contained in Spectrum-4) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking chlorhexidine topical:
- Signs of allergic reaction (nasal congestion; shortness of breath or troubled breathing; skin rash, hives, or itching; or swelling of face
Side effects not requiring immediate medical attention
Some side effects of chlorhexidine topical may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects.
Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Change in taste
- increase in tartar (calculus) on teeth
- staining of teeth, mouth, tooth fillings, and dentures or other mouth appliances
Less common or rare
- Mouth irritation
- swollen glands on side of face or neck
- tongue tip irritation
For Healthcare Professionals
Applies to chlorhexidine topical: compounding liquid, mucous membrane insert, mucous membrane liquid, topical dressing, topical liquid, topical pad, topical soap, topical solution, topical sponge
Very common (10% or more): Toothache (up to 50.7%)
Frequency not reported: Mouth irritation, coated tongue, desquamation/superficial desquamation/oral mucosa swelling, parotid gland swelling, burning sensation of the tongue, increased dental calculus formation, aphthous ulcer, gingivitis/grossly obvious gingivitis, geographic tongue, tooth disorder, dental/gingival/mouth pain, broken/cracked/fractured teeth, mobile teeth, lost bridges/crowns/fillings, discoloration of the teeth, gums, and dorsum of the tongue
Toothache occurred most often in patients receiving the periodontal chip, and included dental/gingival/mouth pain, tenderness, aching, throbbing, soreness, discomfort, or sensitivity.
Tooth disorder occurred most often in patients receiving the periodontal chip, and included broken/cracked/fractured teeth, mobile teeth, and lost bridges/crowns/fillings.[Ref]
Bronchospasm occurred with hypersensitivity reactions.
Very common (10% or more): Upper respiratory tract infection (up to 28.4%), sinusitis (up to 13.8%)
Common (1% to 10%): Bronchitis, pharyngitis
Common (1% to 10%): Ageusia/dysgeusia, hypoesthesia
Frequency not reported: Transient dysgeusia, headache, loss of consciousness
Postmarketing reports: Hypesthesia, paresthesia[Ref]
Common (1% to 10%): Arthrosis, tendinitis
Frequency not reported: Ulceration, desquamation, keratinization, mucocele, short frenum, pain, tenderness, aching, throbbing, soreness, discomfort, sensitivity
Postmarketing reports: Minor irritation[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Rash, erythema/generalized erythema, urticaria, dermatitis, pruritus, eczema, skin irritation, blisters, cold sweat, irritative or allergic skin reactions[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Cardiac arrest, circulatory collapse, hypotension, tachycardia, hypertension[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Anaphylactic shock, anaphylactoid reactions/fatal anaphylactic reactions
Frequency not reported: Irreversible corneal damage, irritation to the conjunctiva[Ref]
Exposure of the eye to chlorhexidine cleanser, generally during preparation for facial surgery, has resulted in eye pain, edema of the epithelium, keratitis, inflammation of the conjunctiva, corneal epithelial cell loss, chronic corneal ulcers, and opacification. Corneal transplantation to correct permanent damage has been required in some patients.
Frequency not reported: Dysmenorrhea, hematuria[Ref]
Frequency not reported: Allergy[Ref]
More about Spectrum-4 (chlorhexidine topical)
- Drug interactions
- Dosage information
- During pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- En español
- Drug class: antiseptic and germicides
1. "Product Information. Peridex (chlorhexidine topical)." Procter and Gamble Pharmaceuticals (2022):
2. "Product Information. PerioChip (chlorhexidine topical)." Apothecon Inc (2022):
3. Cerner Multum, Inc. "UK Summary of Product Characteristics." O 0
4. Cerner Multum, Inc. "Australian Product Information." O 0
5. "Product Information. Biopatch (chlorhexidine topical)." Johnson and Johnson Medical Inc (2009):
6. "Product Information. Chlorhexidine Gluconate (chlorhexidine topical)." A-S Medication Solutions (2011):
7. "Product Information. Hibiclens (chlorhexidine topical)." Astra-Zeneca Pharmaceuticals (2011):
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.