In general, oxidizing agents that are of any value as germicidal agents depend on their ability to liberate oxygen in the tissues. Many of these agents are inorganic compounds, including hydrogen peroxide, several metal peroxides, and sodium perborate. All of these react in the tissues to generate oxygen and oxygen radicals. Other oxidizing agents, such as KMnO4, denature proteins in microorganisms through a direct oxidation reaction. Oxidizing agents are especially effective against anaerobic bacteria and can be used in cleansing contaminated wounds. The bubbles that form during the liberation of oxygen help to dislodge debris. The effectiveness of the oxidizing agents is somewhat limited by their generally poor penetrability into infected tissues and organic matter. Additionally, the action of the oxi-dizers is typically transient.
Carbamide peroxide (Gly-Oxide) is a stable complex of urea and hydrogen peroxide. It has the molecular formula H2NCONH2 H2O2. The commercial preparation is a solution of 12.6% carbamide peroxide in anhydrous glycerin. When mixed with water, hydrogen peroxide is liberated. Carbamide peroxide is used as both an antiseptic and disinfectant. The preparation is especially effective in the treatment of oral ulcerations or in dental care. The oxygen bubbles that are liberated remove debris.
Hydrous benzoyl peroxide (Oxy-5, 0xy-10, Vanoxide) is a white granular powder. In its pure powder form, it is explosive. The compound is formulated with 30% water to make it safer to handle.
Compounded at 5% and 10% concentrations, benzoyl peroxide is both keratolytic and keratogenic. It is used in the treatment of acne. Benzoyl peroxide induces proliferation of epithelial cells, leading to sloughing and repair.11
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