Intravenous literature: Medscape Nurses report on chlorhexidine in healthcare “In our never-ending attempt to vanquish healthcare-associated infections, the latest weapon to emerge isÂ chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). Not that CHG is exactly new: as an antiseptic, it has been around for more than 50 years. Initially a topical disinfectant, CHG has recently crept into numerous other products and devices. We now have not only skin antiseptic solutions but surgical scrub products, bathing cloths, oral rinses, intravenous catheters, topical dressings, and implantable surgical mesh — all infused with this relatively safe, broad-spectrum antiseptic. Nor is the use of CHG limited to the hospital: CHG is increasingly added as a preservative to cosmetics and other personal care products.
CHG belongs to the chemical group known as biguanides. As a biocide, its target is the bacterial cell wall. At low concentrations, CHG binds to the negatively charged cell wall and disrupts its osmotic equilibrium. At higher concentrations, CHG attacks the bacterial cytoplasmic membrane and denatures microbial proteins. CHG has both a rapid onset of bactericidal action and prolonged antimicrobial efficacy through residual effects.