Povidone iodine: uses and precautions

Although povidone-iodine does not have many contraindications and only rarely causes side effects, it should always be used with caution. It is not advisable for some people.

Last update: 06 September, 2021

Povidone iodine is a solution that is used to eliminate bacteria, fungi, viruses or other microorganisms that can get into the skin or into a wound. It is also used to disinfect surgical material and surfaces in general.

Povidone-iodine is also known as "povidone-iodine," "povidone," or "povidone-iodine.". It is usually presented as a liquid antiseptic solution that is applied to the skin. However, it also comes in the form of swish or gargle, as foam or in ovules.

Some of the trade names for povidone iodine are: Acydona, Betadine, Betatul, Curadona, Heridine, Iodine, Isodine, Normovidone, Povidine, Sanoyodo, Sanosil, Topionic and Topionic Scrub. The drug has a broad antibacterial spectrum and is inexpensive.

How does povidone iodine work?

Povidone-iodine has bactericidal properties that act directly on the tissues. What it does is destroy the proteins and enzymatic structures of microorganisms through an oxidation mechanism.

Its effect occurs within 15 seconds and this makes povidone iodine an ideal compound for common wounds and surgeries. The best is that does not cause skin irritation or burns and this results in a good evolution in the case of an injury.

This antiseptic is not iodine, but it does contain a high level of iodine. For this reason, it acts against a wide range of germs, since most microorganisms do not develop resistance to iodine. It can also be used in pets without problem.

Common uses

The most common use of povidone iodine is to heal open wounds. As we already noted, this antiseptic does not burn or irritate the skin, so it can be used safely. In general, it is applied to cuts, scrapes and other traumas on the skin, as it prevents microorganisms from penetrating there.

It is also commonly used to prepare the surgical area. Povidone-iodine prevents the possibility of an infection at the time of surgery.

Other uses of this antiseptic are as follows:

  • Eye problems. There is inconclusive evidence that povidone iodine might be beneficial for some eye problems such as conjunctivitis, blepharitis, and keratitis.
  • Virus inactivation. There is evidence that povidone iodine would help inactivate viruses such as adenovirus, mumps, rotavirus, poliovirus (types 1 and 3), Coxsackie virus, rhinovirus, herpes simplex, rubella, measles, influenza, and HIV

Povidone iodine is a common component of other medications, but also cosmetic and cleaning products, such as toothpaste and shampoo. It is also used in solutions for the eyes and vaginal ovules.

Trade Presentations of Povidone Iodine

Povidone-iodine is commonly found in all first aid kits.

The most popular commercial forms of povidone iodine are Betadine and Isodine., in Spain and Latin America respectively. The most used modality is the antiseptic solution for topical use to disinfect wounds. This substance is in almost all household medicine cabinets.

This medicine also comes in a soapy solution to clean the skin.. It is applied when there are small cuts or scrapes, or only to disinfect the hands or some other area of ​​the skin. Also, to disinfect surgical material or any object. The same benefits have the povidone iodine gel.

The oropharyngeal solution is used to treat infections in the oral cavity or throat.. It is used for the management of canker sores, ulcers, sores, hoarseness or even bad breath. In general, it can be used in all types of infection in that area.

Povidone-iodine also comes as a vaginal douche. This is used to treat minor infections and eliminate bad odor in the intimate area. The ovules of this compound, in general, are used in the treatment of vulvovaginocervicitis.

Possible side effects

The use of povidone iodine is contraindicated in people with hypersensitivity to iodine.. It is very rare, but this drug can cause local allergic reactions. Redness, itching, edema, or contact dermatitis may be present.

People with burns, kidney dysfunction, or thyroid problems may be more sensitive to the effects of this substance. Povidone-iodine should not be ingested under any circumstances.. If you do, you can have an upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting and burns of the gastrointestinal tract.

Any excessive use of this antiseptic can cause corrosive effects. In its usual presentation it should not come into contact with the eyes. If so, the eyes need to be flushed with water for 15 minutes.

The use of povidone-iodine is not recommended in pregnant or nursing women.. Iodine is absorbed through the circulation and can penetrate the placenta and harm the fetus. Also, it is possible that it accumulates and reaches the baby through breast milk.

When to use povidone iodine?

Povidone-iodine should never be used in combination with mercury derivatives.. If used continuously, systemic absorption is possible. This, in turn, can lead to false positives in thyroid tests.

What is indicated is wash the wound or application site with water or sterile solution before applying povidone-iodine. In general, this type of substance should not be given to a person with kidney failure.