Healthcare Antiseptics: A Boon or a Bane

Following the draft regulation published by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2013 requiring a thorough review of the safety of antibacterial soaps and sanitizers used by consumers, this Thursday, the FDA proposed a rule to check the effectiveness of the same products for healthcare personnel.

Healthcare professionals are at a higher risk of contracting infections due to their continuous exposure to patients. It is evident from the fact that 2011 saw approximately 75,000 patient deaths after over 700,000 patients contracted infections in acute-care hospitals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This proclivity towards contracting healthcare-associated infections has led to increased use of antiseptics by healthcare workforce, so much so, that they use these products about 100 times a day, a FDA report noted.

What is essential is to check the efficacy of these disinfectants. It is to be proved that they are serving their intended purpose. Thus, the ruling by the FDA requires over-the-counter antiseptic manufacturers to furnish proper evidence indicating the possible consequences of prolonged usage of these products.

Antimicrobial soaps and sanitizers majorly contain alcohol and iodine as their chief ingredients. The greater than before exposure to these products has therefore prompted the FDA to evaluate the likely harmful hormonal effects that they entail. FDA is also skeptical on the healthcare personnel developing antimicrobial resistance due to the persistent use of these antiseptics.

The proposed review by the FDA shall contrast the quantity and quality of ingredients in these antiseptics against the levels permissible of these formulations. The companies have been provided with a window of one year to put forward all information required for the review. However, the FDA has not stopped the healthcare professionals from using the antiseptic products during the course of the review, a statement released by The American Cleaning Institute averred.