cadexomer iodine

Medically Reviewed on 10/17/2022

Generic Name: cadexomer iodine

Brand Name: Iodosorb

Drug Class: Wound Care

What is cadexomer iodine, and what is it used for?

Cadexomer iodine is a topical antiseptic medication used to treat and prevent infection in minor burns, cuts, and scrapes, and to clean wet ulcers and wounds and protect them from infection.

Cadexomer iodine is available over the counter (OTC) as a gel or ointment. Cadexomer iodine absorbs the discharge (exudate) from wet ulcers, helping them to dry up and heal, and also prevents infection by killing bacteria.

Cadexomer iodine is composed of microbeads of cadexomer starch which contain iodine. Iodine is a mineral used by the thyroid gland to produce hormones and it is also a powerful broad spectrum germicidal agent effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and spores. When applied on wet wounds and ulcers, the cadexomer microbeads absorb the fluids, removing the exudates, pus, and debris, and release the iodine which kills any germs present in the wounds. 

The uses of cadexomer iodine include:

  • Prevention of infection of minor burns, cuts, and scrapes
  • Topical antiseptic to disinfect the skin prior to a surgery
  • To clean wet ulcers and wounds including infected surgical and traumatic wounds, pressure sores, diabetic ulcers, and leg ulcers caused by impaired blood flow in the veins (venous ulcers)


  • Do not use in patients hypersensitive to any of the components in the cadexomer iodine formulation.
  • Do not use cadexomer iodine in patients with thyroid disorders such as:
    • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
    • History of Graves’ disease
    • Nontoxic nodular goiter
  • Do not use cadexomer iodine in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Do not use cadexomer iodine for longer than 3 months. Discontinue when wound is free of exudate.
  • Some formulations may contain up to 47% alcohol. Iodine and/or alcohol may be systemically absorbed in some patients, depending on the age of the patient and the integrity of the skin surface. Use with caution.

What are the side effects of cadexomer iodine?

Common side effects of cadexomer iodine include:

  • Application site reactions, including:
    • Local pain and irritation
    • Localized redness (erythema)
    • Local swelling (edema)
  • Eczema
  • Hypersensitivity reaction
  • Increased thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


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What are the dosages of cadexomer iodine?


  • 0.9% iodine


  • 4.7%


Cleaning Wet Ulcers and Wounds

  • Spread 1/8-1/4 inch to dry sterile gauze; apply gauze on wound
  • No more than 50 g per application; no more than 150 g/week
  • Change 3 times/week or when color turns to yellow/gray

Antiseptic for Minor Cuts, Scrapes, Burns

  • Apply small amount to affected area every day to every 8 hours


  • Safety and efficacy not established


  • Topical use of cadexomer iodine is unlikely to cause overdose. Ingestion of cadexomer iodine may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, and difficulty in urination. Treatment may include symptomatic care if symptoms don’t resolve on their own.

What drugs interact with cadexomer iodine?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

What else should I know about cadexomer iodine?

  • Use cadexomer iodine exactly as prescribed or as per label instructions.
  • Cadexomer iodine is only for external use. Wash hands thoroughly before and after use.
  • Avoid contact with eyes, and if exposure occurs, wash your eyes with water immediately.
  • Do not use it on deep wounds, puncture wounds, animal bites, or serious burns without consulting with your physician.
  • Do not use on large areas of the body or apply tight or air-excluding bandages.
  • Discontinue use if you develop irritation or redness on the application site.
  • Contact your physician if your condition does not improve within 7 days.
  • Store safely out of reach of children.
  • Seek medical help or contact Poison Control in case of accidental ingestion.


Cadexomer iodine is a topical antiseptic medication used to treat and prevent infection in minor burns, cuts, and scrapes, and to clean wet ulcers and wounds and protect them from infection. Cadexomer iodine is available over the counter (OTC) as a gel or ointment. Common side effects of cadexomer iodine include application site reactions, eczema, hypersensitivity reaction, and increased thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/17/2022