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Article: Volume 43 Number 3 Page 272 - April 2016

  Dent Update 2016; 43: 272-274  Read article

Oral medicine:  Allergy to Chlorhexidine

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Abstract: Chlorhexidine is an effective antiseptic which is widely used in dentistry. Over recent years, it has also been used in other healthcare products as well as in cosmetics. Anaphylaxis to chlorhexidine has been increasingly reported throughout the world, including two incidents in the UK where chlorhexidine-containing mouthwash had been used to wash tooth sockets following recent tooth extraction. Chlorhexidine is under-recognized as a cause of anaphylaxis and dentists should be aware of its potential for serious adverse effects. Dentists need to consider whether the washing out of a tooth socket with chlorhexidine solution should be avoided in the treatment of established dry socket. On current evidence the potential risks of using chlorhexidine as irrigation solution for treating an established dry socket appears to outweigh any known benefit.

Clinical relevance: Chlorhexidine has the potential to cause anaphylaxis in the dental surgery.

Author notes: Michael N Pemberton, BDS, MBChB, FDS RCS, Consultant in Oral Medicine, University Dental Hospital of Manchester, Higher Cambridge Street, Manchester M15 6FH, UK.

Objective: To increase awareness of the potential for chlorhexidine to induce anaphylaxis in a dental setting.

Belmont