ATC Group: D08A Antiseptics and disinfectants

Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System


Antiseptics and disinfectants

Hierarchical Position

Antiseptics and disinfectants


Active Ingredients

Chemical substance

Benzoxonium chloride is an antiseptic/disinfectant.

Boric Acid is a weakly acidic hydrate of boric oxide with mild antiseptic, antifungal, and antiviral properties. The exact mechanism of action of boric acid is unknown; generally cytotoxic to all cells. It is used in the treatment of yeast infections and cold sores.

Cetrimide is a quaternary ammonium cationic disinfectant with bactericidal activity against gram-positive and some gram-negative organisms. Cetrimide is relatively ineffective against viruses.

Cetylpyridinium is an antiseptic with activity against both gram positive and gram negative organisms.

Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial agent, active against a broad spectrum of Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms, yeasts, fungi, opportunistic anaerobes and aerobes. Chlorhexidine is mainly a “membrane-acting” agent that destroys the outer membrane of the bacteria. It is inactive on bacterial spores unless the temperatures are high.

Chlorocresol has a disinfectant action.

Chloroxylenol is a substituted phenol which has been widely used for many years as an ingredient of antiseptic/disinfectant products intended for external use. It is known to be bactericidal in low concentration to a wide range of Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.

Dequalinum is an anti-infective and antiseptic agent belonging to the class of quaternary ammonium compounds. The primary mechanism of action is an increase in bacterial cell permeability and the subsequent loss of enzyme activity, finally resulting in cell death.

Primary and continuous depressant of the central nervous system. It has a depressant action on the vasomotor-centre.

Hydrogen peroxide is used as a disinfectant and deodorant. It releases oxygen when applied to tissues, the effect lasts only as long as the oxygen is being released and is of short duration. The antimicrobial effect of the liberated oxygen is reduced in the presence of organic matter.

Iodine is an essential trace element in the human diet, necessary for the formation of thyroid hormones and consequently it is used in iodine deficiency and thyroid disorders. It also has antimicrobial activity.

For the prophylaxis and treatment of iodine deficiency disorders it may be given as potassium or sodium iodide, iodised oil, or potassium iodate. In the pre-operative management of hyperthyroidism iodine and iodides are used with antithyroid drugs such as carbimazole, thiamazole, or propylthiouracil.

Iodine has a powerful bactericidal action. It is also active against fungi, viruses, protozoa, cysts, and spores. Iodine is used as an antiseptic and disinfectant generally as a 2% or 2.5% solution.

Povidone iodine is an iodophore that has an established use as a broad-spectrum antiseptic, mainly for the treatment of contaminated wounds and for the preoperative preparation of the skin, mucous membranes and the ocular surface. The organic complex contains approximately 10% of active available iodine. Solutions of povidone iodine gradually release iodine to exert an antimicrobial effect against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and spores. Although povidone iodine is less potent than preparations containing free iodine, it is also less toxic.

Triclosan is a chlorinated bisphenol antiseptic. Triclosan is effective against Gram-positive and most Gram-negative bacteria.