The use of commercially available topical and surface antiseptics has increased as a result of antibiotic resistance and the antimicrobial stewardship era. As practitioners “steward” antibiotic use, they naturally look to effective antimicrobial alternatives such as antiseptics, yet these products are susceptible to many of the same resistance pressures as antibiotics. And, in fact, a growing number of studies have demonstrated that increased usage of CHG can be associated with resistance development. Additionally, researchers have discovered that some of the genes which confer degrees of resistance to CHG may also confer resistance to certain antibiotics.
It is imperative that lessons learned from indiscriminate use of antibiotics are applied to antiseptics. All antiseptic use, no matter where or how much, must be given careful consideration and alternative agents should be chosen if an evidence-based benefit cannot be shown.
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