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Betadine is a topical antiseptic solution widely used to prevent and treat infections in minor cuts, wounds, and burns.

Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024

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What is Betadine? 

Betadine is a topical antiseptic solution widely used to prevent and treat infections in minor cuts, wounds, and burns. It contains povidone-iodine, which is effective against a range of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. 

The active ingredient, povidone-iodine, is a complex of iodine and a polymer carrier that slowly releases iodine when in contact with the skin, ensuring prolonged germicidal action. 

Global Name

The generic name is povidone-iodine, and it is marketed under the brand name Betadine among others. 


What is Betadine used for? 

Betadine is primarily used for: 
  • Disinfecting minor wounds, cuts, and abrasions. 
  • Preventing infection in minor burns. 
  • Treating and preventing infection in skin ulcers. 
  • Pre- and post-surgery skin preparation to prevent surgical site infections. 

How do you use Betadine?  


Betadine is available as a topical solution, ointment, cream and oral antiseptic solution. It is also available in the form of a surgical scrub and douche.

Dosage information:

  • Apply a small amount to the affected area 1 to 3 times daily or as directed by a healthcare provider. 
  • It can be used directly from the bottle or diluted if necessary for sensitive skin areas.


  • Children: Yes, under adult supervision, especially under 2 years old, potential risk of interference with thyroid function. Best to consult with a healthcare practitioner. 
  • Adults: Safe to use, however, adults with thyroid disorders or iodine hypersensitivity should avoid it. 
  • Elderlies: Use with usual precautions.

Is there anyone who can’t take Betadine? 

  • Pregnancy and Lactation: Should only be used if absolutely necessary and under medical advice, with potential risk of congenital hypothyroidism. 

Allergies: People with known hypersensitivity to iodine or povidone should not use Betadine. 


Warnings and Precautions:

  • Avoid application over large skin areas or prolonged use without medical supervision. 
  • Do not use in combination with mercury-containing antiseptic agents. 
  • Avoid use near the eyes. 

Drug and Food/Beverage Interactions

  • Betadine may interact with other topical preparations, particularly those containing mercury. 
  • Should not be used on individuals with known thyroid disorders without medical advice due to the risk of disrupting thyroid function. 

Side Effects

Common side effects include skin irritation and staining of skin and fabrics. Rare but severe reactions may include allergic type reactions and thyroid dysfunction.

Pharmacist Tips

Storage information: 
Store at room temperature away from direct sunlight and heat. 

Handling instructions: 
Apply with a sterile gauze or cotton swab. Avoid contact with the eyes. If contact occurs, rinse thoroughly with water. 


Where is Betadine available in Hong Kong?

Betadine is an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that can be sold without a prescription. It is available in all chain drug stores, including Mannings and Watsons.



Can Betadine be used for vaginal infections? 

Yes, Betadine has formulations such as douches that are specifically designed for the treatment of vaginal infections.

How does Betadine work against infections? 

Betadine works by releasing iodine which penetrates the cell walls of microorganisms causing oxidative damage, thereby killing them.

Can Betadine stain my skin or clothes?

Yes, Betadine can cause temporary staining of the skin and permanently stain fabrics. It can be removed from the skin with soap and water.

Is Betadine safe for daily use?

For minor wounds and cuts, Betadine is safe for daily use. However, it should not be used for prolonged periods without consulting a healthcare provider.

This website provides content related to drug use and medicine for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not use the information on this website to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare provider. The website's owners and contributors are not liable for any repercussions, adverse effects, or consequences resulting from the use of any medication or information provided herein.

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