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Povidone Iodine



It is used to to treat and prevent and treat infection in wounds and as an antiseptic and first aid for minor cuts, grazes, burns, abrasions and blisters.

How it works

Povidone Iodine is broad spectrum antiseptic for topical use.  Povidone iodine liberates iodine in contact with the skin causing antiseptic action.

Common side effects

Skin discolouration, Increased sodium level in blood, Renal impairment, Metabolic acidosis, Increased level of thyroid hormones, Decreased level of thyroid hormones in neonates, Deep tissue toxicity, Mucous membrane toxicity, Superficial punctuate keratitis


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Expert advice

  • Apply a small amount of povidone iodine solution to the affected area after cleaning it properly.
  • The affected area can be left uncovered or covered with a sterile bandage.
  • If you experience a skin rash, hives, or itching, or any other unusual reaction after using this product, discontinue use and contact your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Povidone iodine cutaneous spray powder is meant for external application and should not be instilled in eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Do not use the povidone iodine solution on large parts of the body for more than a week unless advised by your doctor.
  • Seek doctor’s advice before use if injuries are deep or puncture wounds or serious burns.

Frequently asked questions

Povidone Iodine

Q. Is povidone iodine the same as betadine?
Yes. Betadine is the brand (proprietary) name of povidone iodine.
Q. Is povidone iodine the same as iodine or iodine tincture?
No.  Povidone iodine is the stable chemical complex of povidone (polyvinylpyrrolidone i.e. PVP) and elemental iodine. Iodine tincture has iodine and potassium iodide dissolved in ethanol and water. Both the formulations show antiseptic action.
Q. Does povidone iodine kill yeast, bacteria or fungus?
Yes. Povidone iodine being disinfectant and antiseptic inhibits the growth and development of microorganisms.
Q. Does povidone iodine burn, stain, sting or hurt?
Topical application of povidone iodine may cause slight irritation. Temporary staining of affected area is also possible. However, it is not a matter of concern and gets resolved quickly.
Q. Is povidone iodine safe?
Povidone iodine is safe when used at prescribed dose and duration as directed by doctor.
Q. Does povidone iodine contain alcohol?
No. Povidone iodine is stable chemical complex of povidone (polyvinylpyrrolidone i.e. PVP) and elemental iodine.
Q. Does povidone iodine stain teeth?
Povidone iodine should be used externally. It should not be used on teeth.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)