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Generic name: chlorhexidine topical [klor-HEX-i-deen-TOP-i-kal]
The brand names are: Antiseptic Skin Cleanser, Betasept, Biopatch, Calgon Vesta, ChloraPrep One-Step
Classifications of drugs: antiseptics and germicides; mouth and products for the throat.

What is Hibiclens?

Chlorhexidine acts as an antiseptic, which fights bacteria. Hibiclens (for the skin) is used to cleanse the skin and protect against infections that could result from surgery or injections. It can also be used to treat injuries to the skin. Hibiclens can also be used for reasons not mentioned in this guideline.

Side effects of Hibiclens

Chlorhexidine is known to cause an extremely rare and severe allergic reaction that could be life-threatening. Seek medical attention immediately. If you experience symptoms that indicate an allergy reaction, such as itchy skin, hives, wheezing, difficulty breathing, extreme dizziness, or swelling of your lips, face, and throat,

Hibiclens may cause serious side effects. Take off Hibiclens and consult your physician immediately if you experience:

  • Extreme, intense burning, or severe redness or itching;
  • The skin peels or blisters;
  • An extreme skin rash or swelling and
  • Or any other serious irritation to the skin.

More minor negative side effects are more likely, and you could not have any whatsoever.

This isn't a complete list of possible side effects, and others could happen. Contact your doctor for advice regarding medical adverse effects. You can report any adverse reactions to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Similar/related drugs

Chlorhexidine topical, Tegaderm CHG Dressing, ChloraPrep One-Step, Betasept, and hexachlorophene topical


Chlorhexidine could cause a rare but severe allergic reaction that could be potentially life-threatening. Get emergency medical assistance if you experience an allergic reaction that is severe, such as hives or a skin rash; wheezing; difficulty breathing; cold sweats; extreme dizziness; and swelling of your lips, face, and throat.

Before you take this drug

It is not recommended to take Hibiclens if you are sensitive to it. Consult a physician or pharmacist about whether it is appropriate for you to use Hibiclens if there are any allergies to dyes, food, or animals. Also, ask about medicines. It isn't known if Hibiclens could harm a newborn baby. Consult your physician if you are expecting.

It isn't known if the topical use of chlorhexidine can be absorbed into breast milk or whether it affects the nursing infant. Consult your physician if you are breastfeeding. Take care when using Hibiclens with any child less than two months old. This medicine can cause serious burns or irritations to the skin of a child who is very young.

How to take Hibiclens?

Follow the directions on the label or as directed by your physician. Don't use in greater than smaller quantities or for longer than is recommended. Do not consume by mouth. Hibiclens can be used only to treat skin.

Cleanse your skin prior to applying Hibiclens. Apply just enough to be able to cover the area you're treating. Don't apply this medication to deep cuts, scrapes, or open wounds on the  To apply Hibiclens soap, apply only enough to completely cover the area you're treating. The area is gently cleaned and then thoroughly rinsed using plain tap water. Be careful not to use it on huge areas of the face.

The medicine is manufactured in sterile conditions; however, the contents aren't sterilized. There is a possibility for bacteria to penetrate the product and infect it, which could cause an infection. To ensure that your medication is not contaminated with a bacterium:

  • Use only the swab pad or the applicator that comes with your medication.
  • If you don't have an applicator, you can use an uncontaminated cotton ball or a cotton swab to apply the medicine.
  • Don't touch the top of the bottle with your fingers, or even touch it on your skin.
  • Avoid diluting the medication by adding water or any other liquid.
  • Make use of the applicator (pad, swab, or another dressing) only once. Remove it from the kitchen after one use.

Consult your physician if symptoms don't improve or if your symptoms become worse after taking Hibiclens. Store the medication at room temperature, far from heat and moisture. Avoid freezing. Close the bottle when not being used.

If the medicine is contained in a foil wrapper that is single-use or any other container, make sure to only use it once. Dispose of it after one use, even if there's remaining medicine. Don't save it for future use.

Do I be concerned if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose immediately after you recall. Avoid any missed doses if it's nearing the time for the next dose. Don't use any extra medication to make up for the missed dose.

What will happen if I take excessively?

A dose of Hibiclens isn't expected to pose any danger. You should seek medical attention in an emergency or contact the Poison Help Line at 1-800-222-1222 in the event that anyone has swallowed the drug accidentally.

What should be avoided?

Do not get Hibiclens in your ears, eyes, and mouth. Avoid getting Hibiclens in your nose, eyes, vagina, or rectum. If this happens, wash with water. Don't use any other medication for the same areas that you are treating with Hibiclens unless your doctor instructs you to. Do not get this medication on your clothes or other textiles. Avoid using bleach to wash your clothes that have been exposed to chlorhexidine. Alternatively, the medication could cause permanent staining.

Interaction with other drugs

It's unlikely that other substances you consume in a pill or orally can affect the chlorhexidine you apply topically. However, many medications can interact with each other. Be sure to inform your health professionals about the medicines you take, which include prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, and herbs.