Last update July 11, 2023


High Risk

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

Cetrimide, cetrimonium bromide and Cetrimonium Chloride are quaternary ammoniacal disinfectants, cationic surfactants, with antiseptic properties. It is bactericidal and has been used to clean skin, wounds and burns. They are used as a solution and creams. Cetrimide is frequently combined with chlorhexidine.

Since the last update we have not found published data on its excretion in breastmilk.

If ingested, cetrimide and other quaternary ammonium compounds cause nausea and vomiting; highly concentrated solutions are irritating and can cause oropharyngeal and esophageal burns.

Five newborns had oral burns after accidental ingestion of a solution of chlorhexidine and cetrimide. The damage was attributed to the caustic effect of cetrimide. (Mucklow 1988)

Do not apply on the breasts to prevent the infant from ingesting it; if necessary, apply after one feeding and clean well with water before the next.



  • 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

Cetrimide is also known as

Cetrimide in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Cetrimide in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Molecular weight 336 / 365 daltons


  1. Mucklow ES. Accidental feeding of a dilute antiseptic solution (chlorhexidine 0.05% with cetrimide 1%) to five babies. Hum Toxicol. 1988 Abstract

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