Betadine Ointment: Uses, Side Effects, Composition & Dosages

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Betadine Ointment is a common broad-spectrum antibiotic. In the ointment form, it is used only for topical infections. The ointment form is more concentrated than the antiseptic cream. It is essential in a first-aid kit. It is largely used to prevent skin infections and treat wounds. The ointment is meant for topical use only. It kills the sensitive microbes present at the surface of the skin and prevents its multiplication. Microbes generally infected a wounded area on the skin. 

Uses & Benefits of Betadine Ointment:

Betadine Ointment is used to treat a large number of skin infections and wound like:

  • Chronic Wound
  • Minor cuts
  • First-degree burns
  • Infection in wounds
  • Blisters
  • Cold sores
  • Bruised skin
  • Skin Abrasions
  • Oral infections
  • Vaginal candidiasis
  • Skin disinfection
  • Sanitize skin before and after a surgical procedure (used by both the surgeon and patient)

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Side effects of Betadine Ointment:

Though meant only for exterior use, usage of this medicine can have major and minor side effects. They are especially common in those with sensitive skin. The most common side-effects include:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Constant skin irritation
  • Acneiform eruptions
  • Allergic skin reactions that may be severe in some people
  • Imbalance of the thyroid hormone
  • Pruritus
  • Erythema
  • Metabolic acidosis ( when applied on deep wounds)
  • High blood sodium ( when applied on deep wounds)

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Common Dosage of Betadine Ointment:

Dosage for Betadine Ointment varies as per the person’s age, gender, and other medications being taken by you. The physician might also reduce the number of times to be applied based on your previous reaction to any iodine-based ointment or cream or solution. The physician will prescribe the dosage based on your medical condition. 

Before use, check the label for usage directions. Stick to the dosage and duration prescribed by the doctor. For minor cuts and bruises, clean the affected area and pat dry. When the wound is dry, gently massage the ointment on it, and make sure to cover the entire affected area. Wash your hands thoroughly after application. Alternatively, cotton can also be used to apply the ointment. Post-application, the affected area can be left covered or uncovered with a sterile bandage. Prolonged usage on a large area of the skin must be avoided unless prescribed by the doctor. 

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Composition and Nature of Betadine Ointment:

It is purely made of Povidone Iodine, which is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. This works against a wide array of microorganisms that include bacteria, spores, protozoa, and fungi. Povidone-iodine is an iodine carrier. Iodine carriers were formulated to replace iodine solutions that were used as an antibiotic since old age. Betadine Ointment has a concentrated form of iodine. It is packed in a soft and sticky form and hence will not spread easily and evenly over the wounded area. 

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How Does Betadine Ointment work?

Povidone Iodine is an antibiotic. It is essentially an iodine carrier that liberates iodine once in contact with the skin. The liberated iodine molecules carry out the antiseptic action. Iodine carriers regulate the flow of free iodine at the affected site and reduce the side effects. 

The iodine molecules oxidize the cellular constituents of the invading microorganisms. After oxidation, the iodine molecules attach to the proteins present within the microbes and inactivate them. When the proteins are inactive, the microorganisms cannot grow and multiply. Thus bacteria are killed on the surface of the wound or cut and do not multiply internally. 

The concentration of the iodine molecules released on the surface of the skin is above the levels required to kill the microbes and below the level which can cause skin irritation and rashes. 

Precautions and Warning – When to avoid Betadine Ointment?

Caution should be ensured while applying Betadine Ointment under certain circumstances. They are listed below.

  • A Large amount should not be applied to oral wounds
  • Avoid contact with this ointment through the eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Avoid application on deep wounds, open wounds, irritated skin and sun-burnt skin
  • Avoid other products on the area of application
  • No interactions of the ointment are found with alcohol
  • Betadine Ointment is unsafe to use during pregnancy unless recommended by the doctor.
  • It is not recommended for deep wounds especially in people with kidney ailments
  • Betadine Ointment is safe for usage in lactating mothers
  • The ointment must be used with caution in patients with thyroid hormone disorder like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease etc.

Substitutes for Betadine Ointment:

The following ointments have the same composition and form as Betadine Ointment and hence can be used as substitutes:

  • Wokadine Ointment by Wockhardt Ltd
  • Mercidine ointment by Aurz Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd
  • Zylo P Ointment by Leben Laboratories Pvt Ltd
  • Novidon Ointment by Xieon Life Sciences Pvt Ltd

Betadine Ointment Interactions with Other Drugs:

Drug interactions vary from person to person. Your history of previous allergies must be discussed with the doctor during prescription.

Betadine Ointment being a topical use antibiotic does not interact much with other drugs meant for consumption. A few reported interactions are listed below. 

  • The ointment is known to react with thyroid tablets and medicines. Hence caution should be ensured by patients with all kinds of thyroid disorder
  • The ointment must be avoided by patients who are on Lithium therapy. It can lead to increased occurrence of side effects
  • Betadine Ointment must not be used with collagenase. Oodine povidone and other antiseptics meant for skin application might lessen the effect of collagenase and other peptides when used together.


1) Can Betadine Ointment act against yeast?

Ans: Yes. It is a disinfectant and an antiseptic and it acts against all microbes including yeast.

2) Does apply Betadine Ointment stain the skin?

Ans: Mild stinging of skin can be seen on the application of Betadine Ointment and it is only temporary. The stain will disappear after a wash.

3) Does it contain alcohol?

Ans: No. It is a chemical formulation of povidone and iodine in its elemental form.

4) Does Betadine Ointment sting or hurt when applied?

Ans: Application of Povidone ointment may cause mild irritation. However, the feeling gets resolved in no time.

5) Is Povidone-iodine the same as iodine tincture?

Ans: Povidone-iodine is a form of elemental iodine whereas iodine tincture is a combination of potassium iodide and iodine dissolved in water and ethanol. Though both have antiseptic action, their formulations are different.

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