Hexachlorophene (Topical)

Overview

Hexachlorophene is a topical anti-bacterial and anti-infection agent that is common in medicated soaps, creams, and toothpaste. The primary purpose of this medication is to cleanse wherever it is applied to prevent the growth of bacteria and other pathogens. In the surgical room, this drug is applied to the skin to prevent the spread of an infection. Available only with the healthcare provider's prescription, hexachlorophene is available in the following forms:

  • Powder for suspension
  • Liquid
  • Foam

Conditions Treated

  • Surgical antisepsis
  • Antiseptic skin cleanser

Type Of Medicine

  • Anti-bacterial agent

Side Effects

Along with the desired effects, some medications tend to cause unwanted effects. Some of these side effects tend to go away as the body adjusts to treatment. However, some side effects may be so severe as to require medical attention.

Check with your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you experience any of the following hexachlorophene side effects.

  • Dry, cracked, and/or scaly skin
  • Crusting, blistering, itching, irritation, or reddening of the skin
  • Increased sensitivity when the skin is exposed to sunlight
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Skin rashes
  • Severe sunburns
  • Swelling of the skin

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms of hexachlorophene overdose

  • Blurred vision
  • Stomach or abdominal cramps
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Convulsions
  • Confusion
  • Reduced urination
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, or faintness when rising from a sitting or lying position
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Fast or weak pulse
  • Sunken eyes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unusual fatigue and general weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Thirst
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sweating
  • Wrinkled skin

Call your healthcare provider immediately for advice concerning these side effects. You may also report the side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Dosage

Like with any other medication, it is important that you use hexachlorophene as directed by your doctor. Never use more of it, often, or for a longer time than as directed by your doctor.

Hexachlorophene should only be used externally on the skin. Do not ingest it or apply to the ears, mouth, nose, genitalia, or any other opening. If it comes into contact with these body parts, rinse thoroughly with flowing water. Do not apply the medication to an open wound.

It is important that you follow your healthcare provider's directions about cleaning and caring for your skin before and after applying this medication. It is important that you understand every direction, and ask for clarifications where you need some.

Do not leave hexachlorophene on the skin. Do not cover the treated area with plastic or any form of waterproof bandage. Overuse of this medication, or exposing the skin to it for longer periods, can allow the medication to be absorbed into the body resulting in adverse side effects.

Direction of use

Wet your hands with water and apply a small quantity (about one teaspoon) of the medicine on your palm. Work this into a lather and wash the affected area as instructed by your healthcare provider. Rinse the area thoroughly after washing, especially if you are treating areas around the genitalia or anus.

Hexachlorophene dosing

Hexachlorophene dosage varies from patient to patient. It is important that you follow your healthcare provider's directions or the directions on the drug's label. Information provided herein should only be considered as the average dosing of this medication. If your healthcare provider recommends a different dose, do not change it unless directed to do so.

The amount of medication that you take will depend on the strength of the drug, the number of daily doses, time recommended in between the doses, duration of medication, and the problem for which you are using the medicine.

For topical dosage form

  • For cleaning the skin

Children and adults ' apply one teaspoon (about 5 ml) to your palm and make it into a lather by adding some water. Tenderly apply to the spot to be cleansed. Rinse immediately after with running water and pat dry.

Infants' the use of this medication is not recommended in infants

Hexachlorophene overdose

This medication may be harmful if ingested in brought into contact with an open wound or bodily opening. If ingested accidentally, contact the poison control center or visit the emergency room immediately. You may contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Symptoms of ingestion may include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and seizures.

Interactions

Although certain medications should not be used in combination, in other cases two or more medications may be combined even if an interaction might occur. In such cases, your healthcare provider may recommend a change of dosage for one of the medications, or recommend appropriate precautions. Tell your healthcare provider about the medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications, supplements, and herbal drugs, before using hexachlorophene.

Other interactions

Some medications should never be used while eating certain types of foods. Using tobacco and alcoholic products with certain medications may trigger interactions. Discuss with your doctor the use of alcohol and tobacco while on hexachlorophene medication.

Other medical problems

Some pre-existing medical conditions may affect the use of hexachlorophene. Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if you have any underlying medical problem, especially:

  • Burned or broken skin. Patients with this condition should avoid hexachlorophene
  • A rare disorder called Letterer-Siwe disease
  • A genetic disorder called Ichthyosis congenita
  • Other skin conditions¬†' use with caution as the medication may increase the risk or severity of the side effects

Warnings

Like with any other medication, do not use hexachlorophene if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients. Also, be sure to inform your doctor if you are allergic to other halogenated phenols like trichlorophenol or chlorocresol. This medication may contain inactive ingredients like lanolin which causes allergic reactions as well as other complications. Talk to your healthcare provider for more details.

Before using hexachlorophene, be sure to tell your pharmacist or healthcare provider your medical history, especially that of skin problems and infections such as psoriasis, eczema, scaling and skin dryness.

Hexachlorophene may increase your sensitivity to the sun and UV radiation. Limit your exposure to the sun while on this medication. Avoid sunlamps and tanning booths. Use sunscreen and put on protective clothing while outdoors on a sunny day. Inform your healthcare provider right away if you develop sunburns or blisters.

Caution is advised when using hexachlorophene on infants because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the medication, especially seizures. This medication should not be used for an extended period for bathing infants unless directed otherwise by the doctor. Additionally, hexachlorophene should never be used on a regular basis, or on a larger area of the body.

During pregnancy, hexachlorophene should be used only when clearly necessary, and after discussing the benefits and risks with your healthcare provider.

It is not clear whether this medication can be passed through breast milk to nursing infants. Thus, breastfeeding should be paused while using this medication. Consult your healthcare provider if you intend to use hexachlorophene while breastfeeding.

Get in touch with your healthcare provider if your skin condition worsens. Call your physician if you develop a persistent skin irritation, such as itching, burning, or redness in the area where you applied the medication.

Hexachlorophene may cause serious, and sometimes permanent injury when exposed to the ears, eyes, mouth or vaginal opening. Carefully follow instructions before using this medication to avoid undesired side effects.

Never use this medication as a wet pack, tampon, lotion or as an occlusive agent. Also, using skin care products that contain alcohol may reduce the effectiveness of the medication.

Storage

Hexachlorophene should be stored at room temperature (25 degrees C). Keep the medication away from pets and children. This drug is very harmful when ingested, especially to humans. Thus, it should be stored in the original container to avoid accidental ingestion. Do not pour into other containers like medicine bottles and measuring cups that may be mistaken for other medication.

Hexachlorophene may change color to brown if exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. This does not affect the effectiveness of the medication. Shake the container well before use.

Do not flush the medication down the sink or toilet unless advised to do so. Consult your pharmacist on how to properly dispose of expired medications or medications that you no longer use.

Summary

Hexachlorophene (pHisoHex) is a skin cleanser that is used to clean and clear the skin of bacteria like staph. This antibacterial emulsion is administered to help prevent germ transmission from one individual to the next. It is applied to the skin before and after undergoing a surgical procedure.

Just like with other medications, hexachlorophene does have its side effects. Some of the common side effects of this medication include skin reactions such as dryness, redness, sensitivity, swelling, and scaling. A hard rub or exposure to the sun or extreme cold may worsen some of these side effects.

The recommended dosage for hexachlorophene is about 5 ml dispensed into the palm. This should be lathered with water and applied to the spot to be cleansed. This medication may interact with skin products that contain alcohol. Be sure to inform your doctor of the medications and supplements that you are currently using before using hexachlorophene. This medication should only be used by pregnant and nursing mothers upon approval by the healthcare provider.

  • Patients with a history of allergies and skin lesions should exercise caution while using this medication
  • This medication should never be applied over broken, burned, or sored skin
  • This medication should never be applied to any mucous membrane or used as a wet pack, bandage or lotion.

Reference