Chlorhexidine gluconate shouldn't be used for hand washing — 3 study takeaways

Chlorhexidine gluconate, an ingredient in antimicrobial soap, may be better suited for purposes besides handwashing, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control.

Researchers conducted a systematic review of clinical trials and observational comparative studies using PubMed, ProQuest, Medline and other databases. They conducted three independent reviews on healthcare-associated infection rate, presence of resistance genes and damage to skin integrity.

The key study details to know:

1. There was not a difference in healthcare-associated infection rateswhen using chlorhexidine gluconate for hand hygiene.

2. Out of 13 studies, 10 indicated an association between use of and tolerance to chlorhexidine gluconate.

3. Researchers concluded, "Strong evidence regarding the risks and benefits of chlorhexidine gluconate for hand hygiene is still lacking. Due to potential risk of selecting mutants carrying genes for cross-resistance to chlorhexidine gluconate and antibiotics, it is advisable to reserve the use of chlorhexidine gluconate for purposes other than hand hygiene."

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