The National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM) observed a “steady increase in the number of reports of serious allergic reactions associated with chlorhexidine”a bactericidal antiseptic, and encouraged Thursday, November 30 not to use it as the first disinfectant at home.
“Many people in France are exposed to it, which increases the risk of sensitization and, consequently, the increase in the risk of immediate and serious allergic reaction”, according to the ANSM. The latter specifies: “Such reactions, which however remain rare, generally occur within an hour following the use of chlorhexidine. »
Among these possible allergic reactions: hives, facial swelling and breathing difficulties, or even anaphylactic shock, an extremely violent allergic reaction, which is an absolute medical emergency.
Not recommended as a home disinfectant
Chlorhexidine is included in the composition of many products. It is used as an antiseptic, mainly for skin use or in the form of mouthwashes, oral spray solutions, suckable tablets, eye drops or urological gels. Finally, it is present in hygiene products (certain toothpastes, for example) and in certain cosmetics (sometimes used as a preservative).
In order to reduce the risk of allergy, the ANSM advises not to use chlorhexidine as a disinfectant at home. “Washing with clean water and soap is the priority for cleaning a superficial wound”she adds.
If an allergy to chlorhexidine has already occurred, the ANSM encourages you to notify your nurse, pharmacist, doctor, surgeon or dentist. Furthermore, health professionals are invited to offer products other than chlorhexidine to their patients.
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