Some of the detergents recently developed by industry and incorporated into soaps, shampoos, dentifrices, creams and foodstuffs are being used more and more as germicides, as cleansing agents of intact and ulcerated skin and as penetrants aiding in the resorption of therapeutically active substances through the skin and mucous membranes. They have been tried also as inactivators of pepsin in the treatment of gastroduodenal ulcer1 and of trypsin in the management of chronic ulcerative colitis,2 as inhibitors of peritoneal adhesions and as thrombotic and sclerotic agents in But few investigations have dealt with the mechanism of their biologic action and with their local and systemic toxicity.
There are anionic, cationic and nonionic detergents and, apart from the chemical composition, the predominant electric charge of these agents determines their biologic action, especially on the physicochemical status and colloidal equilibrium of the cells and tissue fluids. The high germicidal properties
MEDICINAL USE OF DETERGENTS. JAMA. 1944;126(18):1152-1153. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850530030010