Povidone-Iodine (Topical)

Adult Medication

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This information from Lexicomp® explains what you need to know about this medication, including what it’s used for, how to take it, its side effects, and when to call your healthcare provider.

Brand Names: US

Aplicare Povidone-Iodine Scrub [OTC] [DSC]; Aplicare Povidone-Iodine [OTC] [DSC]; Betadine Antiseptic Dry Powder [OTC]; Betadine Antiseptic Gargle [OTC]; Betadine Antiseptic Rinse [OTC]; Betadine Antiseptic [OTC]; Betadine Surgical Scrub [OTC]; Betadine Swabsticks [OTC]; Betadine [OTC]; Clorox Nasal Antiseptic [OTC] [DSC]; ExCel AP [OTC] [DSC]; First Aid Antiseptic [OTC]; PVP Prep [OTC] [DSC]; PVP Scrub [OTC] [DSC]; Scrub Care Povidone-iodine [OTC]; Summers Eve Disp Medicated [OTC]

What is this drug used for?

All skin products:

  • It is used to treat or prevent bacterial infections.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

All vaginal products:

  • It is used to treat vaginal irritation, itching, and soreness.

Throat gargle:

  • It is used to treat a sore throat.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take this drug?

All products:

  • If you are allergic to this drug; any part of this drug; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
  • If you are pregnant or may be pregnant. Some forms of this drug are not for use during pregnancy.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.

All skin products:

  • If you have an animal bite or a deep puncture wound.
  • If you have a very bad burn or cut.
  • If a large area needs to be treated.

All vaginal products:

  • If you have signs of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) like belly pain, nausea, throwing up, fever, chills, sores on your genitals, or bad-smelling discharge.
  • If you have just been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • If you have signs of an STD like more vaginal discharge than normal, change in color of vaginal discharge, or bad-smelling discharge; pain when passing urine; passing urine more often; or sores or ulcers on your genitals.

Throat gargle:

  • If you have thyroid disease.
  • If you are using hydrogen peroxide as a gargle.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with this drug.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this drug with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take this drug?

All products:

  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take this drug. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Do not use more often or for longer than you were told.
  • Some forms of this drug may not be for use in all ages of children. If you have questions, talk with the doctor.

All skin and vaginal products:

  • This drug may cause harm if swallowed. If this drug is swallowed, call a doctor or poison control center right away.

Throat gargle:

  • If more than the dose you use to gargle is swallowed, call a doctor or poison control center right away.
  • If more than what is used to gargle is swallowed, call a doctor or poison control center right away.

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

All products:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.

All vaginal products:

  • Vaginal pain or swelling.
  • Fever or chills.

What are some other side effects of this drug?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Irritation where this drug is used.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to your national health agency.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

How is this drug best taken?

Use this drug as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

All skin products:

  • Do not take this drug by mouth. Use on your skin only. Keep out of your mouth and eyes (may burn).
  • Wash your hands before and after use. If your hand is the treated area, do not wash your hand after use.
  • It may be covered with a bandage or dressing.

All vaginal products:

  • Do not take this drug by mouth. For vaginal use only. Keep out of your mouth, nose, and eyes (may burn).
  • Wash hands before and after use.

Throat gargle:

  • Gargle the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds and then spit out. Do not swallow.
  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this drug. If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure this drug.
  • Do not get this drug in the eyes.
  • If this drug gets in the eyes, rinse with a lot of water. If eye irritation lasts for a while, talk with the doctor.
  • Do not let this drug come into contact with jewelry, especially silver.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Use a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not use 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

How do I store and/or throw out this drug?

  • Store at room temperature. Do not freeze.
  • Protect from heat.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

General drug facts

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else’s drugs.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about this drug, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

This generalized information is a limited summary of diagnosis, treatment, and/or medication information. It is not meant to be comprehensive and should be used as a tool to help the user understand and/or assess potential diagnostic and treatment options. It does NOT include all information about conditions, treatments, medications, side effects, or risks that may apply to a specific patient. It is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for the medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of a health care provider based on the health care provider’s examination and assessment of a patient’s specific and unique circumstances. Patients must speak with a health care provider for complete information about their health, medical questions, and treatment options, including any risks or benefits regarding use of medications. This information does not endorse any treatments or medications as safe, effective, or approved for treating a specific patient. UpToDate, Inc. and its affiliates disclaim any warranty or liability relating to this information or the use thereof. The use of this information is governed by the Terms of Use, available at https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/know/clinical-effectiveness-terms.

Last Reviewed Date

2021-02-08

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Last Updated