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Chapter: Basic & Clinical Pharmacology - Miscellaneous Antimicrobial Agents; Disinfectants,Antiseptics, & Sterilants

Heavy Metals - Disinfectants, Antiseptics, & Sterilants

Heavy metals, principally mercury and silver, are now rarely used as disinfectants.

HEAVY METALS

Heavy metals, principally mercury and silver, are now rarely used as disinfectants. Mercury is an environmental hazard, and some pathogenic bacteria have developed plasmid-mediated resistance to mercurials. Hypersensitivity to thimerosal is common, possiblyin up to 40% of the population. These compounds are absorbed from solution by rubber and plastic closures. Nevertheless, thimerosal 0.001–0.004% is still used safely as a preservative ofvaccines, antitoxins, and immune sera. Although a causative link to autism has never been established, thimerosal-free vaccines are available for use in children and pregnant woman.

Inorganic silver salts are strongly bactericidal. Silver nitrate, 1:1000, has been most commonly used, particularly as a preventive for gonococcal ophthalmitis in newborns. Antibiotic ointments have replaced silver nitrate for this indication.Silversulfadiazine slowly releases silver and is used to suppress bacterialgrowth in burn wounds.


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Basic & Clinical Pharmacology - Miscellaneous Antimicrobial Agents; Disinfectants,Antiseptics, & Sterilants : Heavy Metals - Disinfectants, Antiseptics, & Sterilants |


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