Chlorhexidine anaphylaxis risk highlighted

The MHRA has received a number of reports of anaphylactic reactions following the use of products containing chlorhexidine.

A variety of medicinal products and medical devices, including some over-the-counter (OTC) products, contain chlorhexidine | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A variety of medicinal products and medical devices, including some over-the-counter (OTC) products, contain chlorhexidine | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Any allergic reactions to products containing chlorhexidine must be reported to the MHRA.

Chlorhexidine is present in a wide range of topical and oromucosal antiseptic products, including creams, wipes, mouthwashes, toothpastes, throat sprays and dressings.

Advice

The recommended advice for healthcare professionals is to:

  • Be aware of the potential for an anaphylactic reaction to chlorhexidine
  • Ensure all known allergies are recorded in patients' notes
  • For patients with a known allergy, check product information prior to use to establish if it contains chlorhexidine
  • If a patient experiences an unexplained reaction, check whether chlorhexidine was used or was impregnated in a medical device that was used.

MHRA Medical Device Alert

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