Evidence of incompatibility for topical anionic agents used in conjunction with chlorhexidine gluconate: A systematic review

Abstract - 1858 PDF - 719 Supplementary information - 78
Gary Tran, Thy N Huynh, Finola M Bruins, Najeah Ahmad, William A Budris, Alba Posligua, Josh A Hammel, Beatrice Nardone, Dennis P West


Chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) is a widely used antiseptic agent for skin and wound disinfection. The cationic properties of CHG may allow its inactivation and precipitation by anionic agents in commonly used topical agents. We conducted a systematic review by searching through PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Web of Science databases and selected original research articles reporting on CHG incompatibility, defined as inactivation or precipitation. The search yielded 22 publications that demonstrated CHG incompatibility via: 1) reduced antibacterial activity (carbomer, acrylates/C10-C30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, dentin, bovine serum albumin, copolymer M239144, sodium lauryl sulfate, heat-killed microbes, triethanolamine, and bark cork); and 2) visible precipitate formation (sodium hypochlorite, EDTA, saline, ethanol, andnystatin). Only three publications reported on CHG incompatibility in dermatology, specifically for carbomer, triethanolamine, and acrylates/C10-C30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer. Although limited evidence linking CHG incompatibility and anionic agents exists, clinicians should carefully consider the nature of topical agents used if CHG is concurrently applied. Increased awareness of CHG incompatibility may result in better antibacterial activity thus ensuring optimal patient management.


Chlorhexidine; incompatibility; inactivation; skin; reduced antibacterial activity; precipitation; systematic review


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