March 1985

Topical Antimicrobial Toxicity

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery, Veterans Administration Medical Center and the University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville.

Arch Surg. 1985;120(3):267-270. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1985.01390270007001

• Three topical antibiotics and four antiseptics (1% povidone-iodine, 0.25% acetic acid, 3% hydrogen peroxide, and 0.5% sodium hypochlorite) were directly applied to cultured human fibroblasts to quantitatively assess their cytotoxicity. The four antiseptics were found to be cytotoxic; all of the cytotoxic agents except hydrogen peroxide were subsequently found to adversely affect wound healing in an animal model. Comparison of bactericidal and cytotoxic effects of serial dilutions of these four topical agents indicated the cellular toxicity of hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid exceeded their bactericidal potency. Bactericidal noncytotoxic dilutions of povidone-iodine and sodium hypochlorite were identified. These experiments provide evidence that 1% povidone-iodine, 3% hydrogen peroxide, 0.5% sodium hypochlorite, and 0.25% acetic acid are unsuitable for use in wound care. This sequence of experiments could be used to identify bactericidal, noncytotoxic agents prior to their clinical use.

(Arch Surg 1985;120:267-270)