What Are Some Uses of Mercury II Iodide?


Quick Answer

Mercury (II) iodide is an ionic compound that has been used in the past for a variety of medical conditions in humans. Due to the risk of mercury poisoning associated with the substance and development of more effective medications, mercury (II) iodide is now used only in veterinary settings.

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Full Answer

Mercury (II) iodide is a red powder that has antiseptic properties. It has been used in the veterinary field as a topical antiseptic and as the active component in germicidal soaps and ointments. It has also been used to treat wounds and has had success as a counterirritant.

Due to the toxic effects mercury can have on the body, animal owners are cautioned to prevent the animal from licking areas where mercury (II) iodide is applied. Cats and dogs in particular should be monitored for side effects because the medication has a higher rate of absorption through the skin in these pets when compared to other animals.

In humans, mercury (II) iodide was used as an antiseptic, antisyphilitic agent, diuretic, antibacterial and laxative. These products were discontinued due to gastrointestinal and kidney damage from oxidation of the mercury ions to a reactive species. This reactive species can disrupt cellular metabolism and other enzymatic processes.

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