Chlorhexidine Gluconate

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Chlorhexidine Gluconate Brand Name(s): Chlorhexidine Gluconate. Avability: Rx, OTC Pregnancy Category: C (periodontal chip), B (soap, solution, and oral rinse formulations)

Uses

What is Chlorhexidine Gluconate used for?

Chlorhexidine Gluconate is used along with regular tooth brushing/flossing to treat gingivitis, a gum disease that causes red, swollen, and easily bleeding gums. Chlorhexidine belongs to a class of drugs known as antimicrobials. It works by decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth, helping to reduce swelling and redness of the gums and bleeding when you brush.

How should I take Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use chlorhexidine gluconate in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Rinse your mouth with chlorhexidine gluconate twice daily after brushing your teeth.

Measure your dose using the cup provided with the medication. Swish the medicine in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Do not swallow the mouthwash.

Do not add water to the oral rinse. Do not rinse your mouth with water or other mouthwashes right after using chlorhexidine gluconate.

Chlorhexidine gluconate may leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Do not rinse your mouth to remove this taste after using the medication. You may rinse the medicine away and reduce its effectiveness.

Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before your gingivitis is completely cleared. Chlorhexidine gluconate will not treat a viral or fungal infection such as cold sores, canker sores, or oral thrush (yeast infection).

Visit your dentist at least every 6 months for preventive tooth and gum care.

How do I store Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Chlorhexidine Gluconate is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Chlorhexidine Gluconate in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Chlorhexidine Gluconate that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Chlorhexidine Gluconate down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Before using chlorhexidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: dental crowns, veneers, or fillings (especially if on the front teeth and if made of porcelain).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Chlorhexidine Gluconate during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Chlorhexidine Gluconate. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Chlorhexidine Gluconate is pregnancy risk category:

  • C (periodontal chip)
  • B (soap, solution, and oral rinse formulations)

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Tooth/tongue staining, increased tartar, mouth/throat irritation, dry mouth, and change in taste of food/drinks may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: mouth or skin rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Chlorhexidine rinse is not likely to cause drug interactions, even if accidentally swallowed. However, be careful not to swallow this medication because doing so may increase side effects.

Chlorhexidine Gluconate may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Chlorhexidine Gluconate may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Chlorhexidine Gluconate may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Chlorhexidine Gluconate.

What is the dose of Chlorhexidine Gluconate for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Gingivitis

Usual dose: 15 mL (approximately 0.5 fluid ounces) swished in the mouth undiluted for 30 seconds and spit out 2 times a day

Comments:

-To decrease medicinal taste, patients should not rinse with water immediately after use.

-The mouthwash should be used after meals (e.g., after breakfast and dinner).

Use:

-Use between dental visits to treat gingivitis (characterized by redness and swelling of the gingivae and gingival bleeding upon probing)

Usual Adult Dose for Mucositis

Usual dose: 15 mL (approximately 0.5 fluid ounces) swished in the mouth undiluted for 30 seconds and spit out 2 times a day

Comments:

-To decrease medicinal taste, patients should not rinse with water immediately after use.

-The mouthwash should be used after meals (e.g., after breakfast and dinner).

Use:

-Use between dental visits to treat gingivitis (characterized by redness and swelling of the gingivae and gingival bleeding upon probing)

Usual Adult Dose for Periodontitis

Usual dose: 2.5 mg (1 periodontal chip) inserted into a periodontal pocket with probing pocket depth (PD) of 5 mm or more every 3 months

Maximum dose: Up to 8 periodontal chips/visit

Comments:

-The area should be isolated and dried before administration.

-Forceps should be used to insert the chip into the maximum depth of the periodontal pocket.

-The chip biodegrades completely and does not require removal.

Uses:

-Adjunct to scaling and root planing procedures for reduction of pocket depth in patients with periodontitis

-Part of a periodontal maintenance program, including good oral hygiene and scaling and root planing

Usual Adult Dose for Skin Disinfection, Preoperative

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.5% Topical Solution (Towelette)

-Hands should be rubbed vigorously with the towelette for approximately 15 seconds, with particular attention to the nails and interdigital spaces. Water and further toweling are not required.

Use: As a hand antiseptic to reduce bacteria that could cause disease

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.75% Topical Solution/Hand Wash:

-Wet hands with water, then apply approximately 5 mL into cupped hands and wash vigorously for 30 seconds. Personnel should wash and dry hands thoroughly.

Use: As a healthcare personnel hand wash to reduce bacteria that could cause disease

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2% Topical Solution:

-SURGICAL HAND SCRUB: Remove jewelry, wet hands and forearms with water and dispense 5 grams into hands. Hands and forearms should be washed/scrubbed for 3 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly with water; hands and forearms should be washed for an additional 3 minutes with 5 grams, rinsed with water, and thoroughly dried.

-HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL HAND WASH: Hands should be wet with water, then 5 grams of this drug should be applied into the hands and washed vigorously for 30 seconds. Hands should be rinsed and dried thoroughly.

-SKIN PREPARATION: The preparation should be applied with gentle back-and-forth strokes for approximately 30 seconds (dry surgical sites) to 2 minutes (moist surgical sites) and allowed to dry completely (e.g., at least 3 minutes with hairless sites, and up to 1 hour in hair).

-SKIN WOUND/GENERAL SKIN CLEANSER: The affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water, then the minimum amount of product to cover the area should be applied and washed gently. The affected area should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Uses:

-As a surgical hand scrub to significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands and forearms prior to surgery or patient care

-As a healthcare personnel hand wash to help reduce bacteria that may cause disease

-As a skin wound/general skin cleanser to reduce bacteria on the skin

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 4% Topical Solution

-SURGICAL HAND SCRUB: Wet hands and forearms with water and dispense 5 grams OR 1 sponge into hands, paying particular attention to the nails, cuticles, and interdigital spaces. Hands and forearms should be washed/scrubbed for 3 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly with water; hands and forearms should be washed for an additional 3 minutes with 5 grams and rinsed with water, and the treated areas should be dried thoroughly.

-HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL HAND WASH: Hands should be wet with water, then 5 grams of this drug should be applied into the hands and washed vigorously for 15 seconds. Hands should be rinsed and dried thoroughly.

-PATIENT PREOPERATIVE SKIN PREPARATION: The solution should be applied liberally to the surgical side and swabbed for at least 2 minutes; the area should be dried with a sterile towel. The site should then be swabbed for 2 minutes and dried with a sterile towel.

-SKIN WOUND AND GENERAL SKIN CLEANSING: The affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water, then the minimum amount of product to cover the area should be applied and washed gently. The affected area should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Comments:

-Nails, cuticles, and interdigital spaces may be washed with a nail brush/pick.

-If included, the sponge should be used to create a lather, and then used to apply the solution to the hands and forearms.

Uses:

-As a surgical hand scrub to significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands and forearms before surgery or patient care

-As a healthcare professional hand wash to reduce bacteria that may cause disease

-As a patient preoperative skin preparation for the preparation of the patient’s skin prior to surgery

-As a skin wound and general skin cleanser

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 92 mg Topical Dressing

-The patch should be placed on cleansed skin surrounding a percutaneous device, with the white foam side facing the skin. Percutaneous devices should be placed along the slit portion of the patch, and then the edges of the patch should be pushed together until they touch.

-Duration of treatment: Up to 7 days

Comments:

-The patch may turn yellow during use, but efficacy of the patch is unaffected.

-Patients with highly exuding wounds may require more frequent patch changes.

Uses:

-Absorb exudate and cover a wound caused by vascular/non-vascular percutaneous medical devices (e.g., IV catheters, central venous lines, arterial catheters, dialysis catheters, peripherally inserted coronary catheters, mid-line catheters, drains, chest tubes, externally placed orthopedic pins, epidural catheters)

-Reduce local infections, catheter-related blood stream infections (CRBSI) and skin colonization of microorganisms related to CRBSI in patients with central venous/arterial catheters

Dose Adjustments

Periodontal Chip:

-Dislodgement within 48 hours of placement: A new chip should be placed.

-Dislodgement more than 48 hours after placement: The chip should not be replaced, but the patient should be reevaluated at 3 months. A new chip should be placed if the pocket depth is not less than 5 mm.

-Dislodgement 7 or more days after insertion: The patient should be considered to have received a full course of treatment.

What is the dose of Chlorhexidine Gluconate for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Skin Disinfection, Preoperative

2 MONTHS AND OLDER:

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.5% Topical Solution (Towelette)

-Hands should be rubbed vigorously with the towelette for approximately 15 seconds, with particular attention to the nails and interdigital spaces. Water and further toweling are not required.

Use: As a hand antiseptic to reduce bacteria that could cause disease

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 0.75% Topical Solution/Hand Wash:

-Wet hands with water, then apply approximately 5 mL into cupped hands and wash vigorously for 30 seconds. Patients should wash and dry hands thoroughly.

Use: As a healthcare personnel hand wash to reduce bacteria that could cause disease

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2% Topical Solution:

-SURGICAL HAND SCRUB: Remove jewelry, wet hands and forearms with water and dispense 5 grams into hands. Hands and forearms should be washed/scrubbed for 3 minutes, then rinsed thoroughly with water; hands and forearms should be washed for an additional 3 minutes with 5 grams, rinsed with water, and thoroughly dried.

-HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL HAND WASH: Hands should be wet with water, then 5 grams of this drug should be applied into the hands and washed vigorously for 30 seconds. Hands should be rinsed and dried thoroughly.

-SKIN PREPARATION: The preparation should be applied with gentle back-and-forth strokes for approximately 30 seconds (dry surgical sites) to 2 minutes (moist surgical sites) and allowed to dry completely (e.g., at least 3 minutes with hairless sites, and up to 1 hour in hair).

-SKIN WOUND/GENERAL SKIN CLEANSER: The affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water, and then the minimum amount of product to cover the area should be applied and washed gently. The affected area should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Comments:

-When used for skin preparation, one applicator may cover an area up to 130 cm2.

-The skin preparation solution should not be allowed to pool.

Uses:

-As a surgical hand scrub to significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands and forearms prior to surgery or patient care

-As a healthcare personnel hand wash to help reduce bacteria that may cause disease

-As a skin wound/general skin cleanser to reduce bacteria on the skin

-Preparation of the patient’s skin before surgery to reduce bacteria that could cause skin infection.

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 4% Topical Solution

-SURGICAL HAND SCRUB: Wet hands and forearms with water and dispense 5 grams OR 1 sponge into hands, paying particular attention to the nails, cuticles, and interdigital spaces. Hands and forearms should be washed/scrubbed for 3 minutes, and then rinsed thoroughly with water; hands and forearms should be washed for an additional 3 minutes with 5 grams of solution, rinsed with water, and the treated areas should be dried thoroughly.

-HEALTHCARE PERSONNEL HAND WASH: Hands should be wet with water, and then 5 grams of this drug should be applied into the hands and washed vigorously for 15 seconds. Hands should be rinsed and dried thoroughly.

-PATIENT PREOPERATIVE SKIN PREPARATION: The solution should be applied liberally to the surgical side and swabbed for at least 2 minutes; the area should be dried with a sterile towel. The site should then be swabbed for 2 minutes and dried with a sterile towel.

-SKIN WOUND AND GENERAL SKIN CLEANSING: The affected area should be thoroughly rinsed with water, then the minimum amount of product to cover the area should be applied and washed gently. The affected area should be rinsed thoroughly with water.

Comments:

-Nails, cuticles, and interdigital spaces may be washed with a nail brush/pick.

-If included, the sponge should be used to create a lather, and then used to apply topical solution to the hands and forearms.

Uses:

-As a surgical hand scrub to significantly reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands and forearms before surgery or patient care

-As a healthcare professional hand wash to reduce bacteria that may cause disease

-As a patient preoperative skin preparation for the preparation of the patient’s skin prior to surgery

-As a skin wound and general skin cleanser

16 YEARS AND OLDER:

Chlorhexidine Gluconate 92 mg Topical Dressing

-The patch should be placed on cleansed skin surrounding a percutaneous device, with the white foam side facing the skin. Percutaneous devices should be placed along the slit portion of the patch, and then the edges of the patch should be pushed together until they touch.

-Duration of treatment: Up to 7 days

Comments:

-The patch may turn yellow during use, but efficacy of the patch is unaffected.

-Patients with highly exuding wounds may require more frequent patch changes.

Uses:

-Absorb exudate and cover a wound caused by vascular/non-vascular percutaneous medical devices (e.g., IV catheters, central venous lines, arterial catheters, dialysis catheters, peripherally inserted coronary catheters, mid-line catheters, drains, chest tubes, externally placed orthopedic pins, epidural catheters)

-Reduce local infections, catheter-related blood stream infections (CRBSI) and skin colonization of microorganisms related to CRBSI in patients with central venous/arterial catheters

Precautions

Safety and efficacy have not been established in patients younger than 2 months (topical solution), 16 years (92 mg skin dressings), and 18 years (oral mouthwash). The periodontal chip formulation is not recommended for use in children

How is Chlorhexidine Gluconate available?

Chlorhexidine Gluconate is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Topical soap,
  • Topical liquid,
  • Mucous membrane liquid,
  • Mucous membrane insert,
  • Topical pad,
  • Topical sponge,
  • Compounding liquid,
  • Topical dressing.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Chlorhexidine Gluconate, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: September 2, 2018 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019