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The antimicrobial effect of iodine

Iodine has been utilised for many years as a highly efficient broad spectrum topical antiseptic for unbroken skin. Slow release formulations such as cadexomer iodine have recently generated renewed interest in the role of iodine in wound management.6,13 Clinically, iodine is indicated for wound bed preparation and the prevention and management of wound infection14 Iodine is a potent broad spectrum antiseptic agent but its role in wound management is controversial because some iodine formulations (povidone iodine) above concentrations of 1% were shown in vitro to impair the functioning of cells in wound healing. Improved formulations are now available which release low levels of iodine over longer periods (IODOSORB) and this has been shown to be effective against wound pathogens, without impairing wound healing11. It is believed that the sustained release of iodine overcomes the neutralising effect of organic material in the wound and a review of the literature concludes that cadexomer iodine is effective and economical in the treatment of many chronic wounds12. Expert opinion now supports the role of this form of iodine in healable chronic wounds that have an increased bacterial burden in the superficial wound compartment.13

Sustained antimicrobial activity

Due to the smart release system of Cadexomer Iodine, IODOSORB is able to provide sustained antimicrobial activity for up to 72 hours.

In contrast, conventional iodine products such as povidone iodine are water soluble and hence become rapidly inactivated upon contact with wound exudates2,3. As a result, they will often not provide antimicrobial activity beyond the first day of use.

Broad Spectrum antimicrobial activity

Iodine has a broad antimicrobial spectrum and a short kill time at low concentrations: 0.5 - 2 parts per million (ppm)3. In in vitro and in vivo19 studies iodine is effective against MRSA which is reassuring to the patient. Iodine is also effective against the following micro-organisms:

Rapid antimicrobial activity

Not only does iodine kill a broad spectrum of micro organisms, it does so very rapidly. Tests were carried out using known numbers of Staphylococcus aureus (methicillin resistant strain) to challenge Cadexomer Iodine dressings, at both 0 minutes and 10 minutes. The results showed that Cadexomer Iodine reduced the numbers of S. aureus to below detectable levels within 10 minutes.