What are the side effects of benzalkonium chloride?


Quick Answer

Brief stinging at the application site is a common side effect of topical benzalkonium chloride, which also has the uncommon, but potentially severe, side effects of rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, and swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue, according to Drugs.com. The severe side effects are due to allergic reactions. Prompt medical attention must be sought if any of the severe side effects occur.

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Full Answer

Benzalkonium chloride is a topical antiseptic used to prevent infections that result from minor cuts, scrapes and burns, according to Drugs.com. Benzalkonium chloride should not be used by anyone allergic to any of its ingredients. It should also not be used to treat deep puncture wounds, animal bites or severe burns. Certain medical conditions also interact with benzalkonium chloride.

Before using the drug, Drugs.com recommends patients notify their doctor or pharmacist if they are pregnant, breast feeding, taking any prescription or non-prescription medicines or herbal and dietary supplements. Patients should also let their doctor or pharmacist know if they have any allergies to medicines, foods or other substances. Though medication interactions can occur, no specific medication interactions are known as of 2014. Drugs.com recommends patients check with their health care provider about potential medication interactions.

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