Pharmacology

Betadine

Povidone-iodine (Betadine) is a topical antiseptic I use for patients with allergies/sensitivities to chlorhexidine prior to doing invasive procedures (chest tubes, lumbar drains, central lines, etc.) in the ICU and OR settings. During emergent cardiac surgeries, sometimes all we have time for is a “Betadine splash” prior to performing life-saving interventions.

Betadine’s bactericidal effects are due to a release of iodine which creates oxidative disruption of bacterial protein synthesis, cell membranes, DNA integrity, etc. It is effectively against many skin pathogens (gram positive and negative bacteria, viruses, yeasts, etc.) For clean and clean-contaminated operations, chlorhexidine (see prior post) is a better antiseptic option. Specifically with burn care, concerns surrounding delayed healing, cytotoxicity, and multiple applications each day make Betadine a controversial choice.

Another interesting point – cleaning solutions like chlorhexidine and adhesive compounds like benzoin and Mastisol have varying amounts of alcohol making them FLAMMABLE! Betadine is a water-based antiseptic devoid of alcohol and nonflammable.

Drop me a comment below with questions!

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