Last update Nov. 7, 2023

Antiseptic, disinfectant iodine

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

Iodine is used as a topical antiseptic for the treatment and prevention of infections (bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa, cysts and spores) in wounds and for preoperative preparation of skin and mucous membranes. Iodine is used as such in alcoholic or aqueous solution (Lugol's solution) at 2% or 2.5%. The use of iodine as a disinfectant is preferred in the form of iodophors, compounds that release iodine slowly, such as Povidone iodine or iodinated Cadexomer. Topical application on skin, mouth and vagina.

Elevation of iodine levels in plasma and breast milk, altered neonatal hypothyroidism screening tests and transient hypothyroidism have been demonstrated in infants of mothers exposed to topical treatment with iodinated disinfectant. (Kurtoğlu 2009, Smith 2006, Casteels 2000, Koga 1995, Arena 1989, Rakover 1989, Chanoine 1988 &1988, Delange 1988, Danziger 1987)

Avoid use in delivery areas, operating theatres (caesarean sections), neonatal and infant units and throughout lactation. (WHO 2002, Chanoine 1988). During breastfeeding, it is not advisable to use mouthwashes or vaginal irrigations with iodinated products.

If there has been a large exposure to iodine, some authors advise that the mother express and discard milk for one week after discontinuing iodine therapy (Smith 2006). If possible, do an analysis of iodine in plasma and breast milk to guide the action.

Occasional application on small wounds, especially on healthy skin, is not dangerous and does not require any analysis in the infant.

See below the information of this related product:

  • Povidone-Iodine ( Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.)


  • Benzalkonium Chloride (Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.)
  • Chlorhexidine ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Antiseptic, disinfectant iodine is also known as

Antiseptic, disinfectant iodine in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Antiseptic, disinfectant iodine in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
M/P ratio 25 -


  1. Kurtoğlu S, Akın L, Akın MA, Çoban D. Iodine overload and severe hypothyroidism in two neonates. J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2009;1(6):275-7. Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  2. Smith VC, Svoren BM, Wolfsdorf JI. Hypothyroidism in a breast-fed preterm infant resulting from maternal topical iodine exposure. J Pediatr. 2006 Oct;149(4):566-7. Abstract
  3. WHO / UNICEF. BREASTFEEDING AND MATERNAL MEDICATION Recommendations for Drugs in the Eleventh WHO Model List of Essential Drugs. Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (WHO/UNICEF) 2002 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Casteels K, Pünt S, Brämswig J. Transient neonatal hypothyroidism during breastfeeding after post-natal maternal topical iodine treatment. Eur J Pediatr. 2000 Sep;159(9):716-7. No abstract available. Abstract
  5. Koga Y, Sano H, Kikukawa Y, Ishigouoka T, Kawamura M. Effect on neonatal thyroid function of povidone-iodine used on mothers during perinatal period. J Obstet Gynaecol (Tokyo 1995). 1995 Abstract
  6. Arena Ansotegui J, Emparanza Knörr JI, San Millán Vege MJ, Garrido Chércoles A, Eguileor Gurtubai I. [Iodine overload in newborn infants caused by the use of PVP-iodine for perineal preparation of the mother in vaginal delivery]. An Esp Pediatr. 1989 Abstract
  7. Rakover Y, Adar H. [Thyroid function disturbances in an infant following maternal topical use of polydine]. Harefuah. 1989 Abstract
  8. Chanoine JP, Pardou A, Bourdoux P, Delange F. Withdrawal of iodinated disinfectants at delivery decreases the recall rate at neonatal screening for congenital hypothyroidism. Arch Dis Child. 1988 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  9. Chanoine JP, Boulvain M, Bourdoux P, Pardou A, Van Thi HV, Ermans AM, Delange F. Increased recall rate at screening for congenital hypothyroidism in breast fed infants born to iodine overloaded mothers. Arch Dis Child. 1988 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  10. Delange F, Chanoine JP, Abrassart C, Bourdoux P. Topical iodine, breastfeeding, and neonatal hypothyroidism. Arch Dis Child. 1988 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  11. Danziger Y, Pertzelan A, Mimouni M. Transient congenital hypothyroidism after topical iodine in pregnancy and lactation. Arch Dis Child. 1987 Abstract Full text (link to original source)

Total visits


Help us improve this entry

How to cite this entry

Do you need more information or did not found what you were looking for?

   Write us at

e-lactancia is a resource recommended by El Parto Es Nuestro of Spain

Would you like to recommend the use of e-lactancia? Write to us at corporate mail of APILAM