Several infants have died and dozens suffered allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) from the skin antiseptic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). Most injuries were in the last few years, after hospitals recommended daily CHG wipe baths — despite questionable evidence it actually works.
Need a Texas Chlorhexidine Lawyer? Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged. If you or a loved one was diagnosed with an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), you should contact our lawyers immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit.
Four Baby Deaths and Dozens Burned by CHG Wipes
At least 29 babies in the U.S. and the U.K. suffered “serious side effects” after being wiped down with chlorhexidine (CHG), including 4 premature babies who died, according to an investigation by the Daily Mail in 2014. The report led health experts in the U.K. to warn against using CGH on very premature babies (under 32 weeks gestation).
FDA Warning: Allergic Reactions to CHG Wipes
In February 2017, the FDA issued a Safety Communication to warn about rare but serious allergic reactions with the skin antiseptic chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG).
How Many People Were Injured?
The FDA identified 52 cases of anaphylaxis from 1969 through June 2015. However, 43 cases occurred from 2010 through 2015, which means the number of reports of allergic reactions increased sharply in the last few years. It is likely that many more cases were not reported.
What is Going On?
One explanation may be the growing popularity of hospitals bathing patients with CHG washcloths on a daily basis to prevent infections. This practice has been “spurred by several quasi-experimental studies,” according to experts. One questionable study was published by the New England Journal of Medicine in 2013.
Study: CHG Baths Do Not Reduce Infection Rates
Other studies directly contradict the conclusions of the NEJM study. They have also raised safety concerns, which may have been what prompted the FDA to investigate the problem.
According to a scientifically-rigorous clinical trial published by JAMA in 2015, daily bathing with chlorhexidine wipes did not reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections in critically ill patients at Vanderbilt University.
CHG Body Wash: Expensive & Weak Evidence
Bathing patients in 2% chlorhexidine is incorporated into some expert guidelines, but the studies backing up those recommendations were not well-supported. Dr. Arthur Wheeler warned:
“This is a practice that is going on all across in the country, not at every single hospital, but at many hospitals; it’s reasonably expensive. The scientific evidence that chlorhexidine cloths make a difference was weak.”
Sage 2% Chlorhexidine Gluconate (CHG) Cloths
One of the most popular skin antiseptic wipes are chlorhexidine-impregnated and non-antimicrobial cloths made by Sage Products. These wipes are advertised to reduce the risk of Surgical Site Infections (SSI). The manufacturer recommends using the wipes all over the patient’s body — “Nose to Toes” — before a surgery.
Other CHG Antiseptic Products
Prescription-strength CHG oral rinse antiseptics are marketed under the brand-name Peridex as well as many generic brands such as Periogard, Oris, PerioRx, and Paroex.
Over-the-counter CHG antiseptic products are marketed as topical solutions, washes, sponges, and swabs under the following brand-names:
- Brian Care
- CHG Scrub
- Pharmaseal Scrub Care
What is Anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of exposure. It can be life-threatening, especially when the allergic reaction is caused by a substance in the mouth (CHG oral rinse, for example), because the tongue can swell and shut off the airway.
Symptoms of Anaphylaxis
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
- Hives that progress to more serious symptoms
- Severe rash
- Shock (sudden drop in blood pressure)
- Loss of consciousness
Need a Chlorhexidine Injury Lawyer in Texas?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $260 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our Texas chlorhexidine lawyers for a free lawsuit review.