Merbromin (marketed as Mercurochrome, Merbromine, Mercurocol, Sodium mercurescein, Asceptichrome, Supercrome, Brocasept and Cinfacromin) is a topical antiseptic used for minor cuts and scrapes. Merbromin is an organomercuric disodium salt compound and a fluorescein. Readily available in most countries, it is no longer sold in Switzerland, Brazil, France, Germany, and the United States due to its mercury content. Mercury-free alternatives are still available in the United States.
3D model (JSmol)
|Molar mass||750.658 g·mol−1|
|Appearance||dark green solid|
|Main hazards||Toxic, dangerous for the environment|
|R-phrases (outdated)||R26 R27 R28 R33 R50 R53|
|S-phrases (outdated)||S13 S28 S36 S45 S60 S61|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
|what is ?)(|
Merbromin's best-known use is as a topical antiseptic to treat minor wounds, burns, and scratches. It is also used in the antisepsis of the umbilical cord and the antisepsis of wounds with inhibited scar formation, such as neuropathic ulcers and diabetic foot sores. When applied on a wound, it stains the skin a distinctive carmine red, which can persist up to two weeks through repeated washings. It is useful on infections of the finger or toe nails because of its permanence and lethality to bacteria.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1998 classified merbromin as "not Generally Recognized as Safe" due to a lack of recent studies and updated supporting information, not due to evidence of toxicity.
In the United States, its use has been superseded by other agents (e.g., povidone iodine, benzalkonium chloride, chloroxylenol). In Canada, Jean Coutu Group markets a chlorhexidine solution under the "Mercurochrome" name.
Merbromin is synthesized by combining dibromofluorescein with mercuric acetate and sodium hydroxide or alternatively, through action of the mercuric acetate upon (or combining with) sodium dibromofluorescein. Because of its anionic character, it is chemically incompatible with acids, the majority of alkaloid salts and most local anesthetics.
Mercurochrome is a trade name of merbromin. The name is also commonly used for over-the-counter antiseptic solutions consisting of merbromin (typically at 2% concentration) dissolved in either ethyl alcohol (tincture) or water (aqueous). Despite the name, the compound contains no chromium.
Its antiseptic qualities were discovered in 1918 by Hugh H. Young, a physician at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The chemical soon became popular among parents and physicians for everyday antiseptic uses, including minor schoolyard injuries.
On October 19, 1998, citing potential for mercury poisoning, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reclassified merbromin from "generally recognized as safe" to "untested," effectively halting its distribution within the United States. Sales were subsequently halted in Brazil (2001), Germany (2003), and France (2006). It is readily available in most other countries.
Within the United States, products such as Humco Mercuroclear ("Aqueous solution of benzalkonium chloride and lidocaine hydrochloride") play on the brand recognition history of Mercurochrome but substitute other ingredients with similar properties.
- "Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Mercury Compounds in the List". Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2009-04-30.
- "Prospecto autorizado Mercromina Film ®" (PDF). Retrieved 15 May 2013.[permanent dead link]
- Sellares Casas, E; et al. "Eficacia de una aplicación frente a 3 de merbromina en el tiempo de caída del cordón". Acta pediátrica Española. 60 (9).
- Gaitan Enríquez, J (September 1997). "Merbromina como tratamiento de elección en úlceras de pie diabético". Clínica rural. 497.
Se ha estudiado en 72 pacientes la eficacia de la merbromina comparativamente con la clorhexidina como antisépticos usados en la curación de múltiples afecciones en el pie diabético. Con el uso de merbromina se consigue disminuir apreciablemente el tiempo de cicatrización de las heridas, y se ha observado también una ausencia de complicaciones en los casos estudiados.
- "Status of Certain Additional Over-the-Counter Drug Category II and III Active Ingredients".
- Budavary, Susan, ed. (1989). The Merck Index, An Encyclopedia of Chemicals, Drugs, and Biologicals (11 ed.). Rahway, New Jersey, USA.: Merck & Co. ISBN 091191028X.
- Wilner, I. (2006). The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and the Creation of Time Magazine. Harper Collins. p. 230. ISBN 0-06-050549-4.
- "Mercuroclear MSDS" (PDF). Humco. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2016-03-03.