Other Antimicrobials: Povidone-Iodine (PVP-I)

Povidone-iodine (PVP-I) is a stable chemical complex of polyvinylpyrrolidone (povidone or PVP) and elemental iodine. PVP-I is completely soluble in cold water, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol and glycerol. First sold in 1955, PVP-I soon became the universally preferred iodine antiseptic.

Povidone-Iodine molecule

Povidone-Iodine Molecule


Povidone-iodine is a generic form of an antiseptic combination product often recommended for treatment of minor wounds, skin infections, ulcers, and for pre- and post-operative skin cleansing. Iodine has been recognized as an effective broad-spectrum bactericide, and is effective against yeasts, molds, fungi, viruses and protozoans. It has been demonstrated that bacteria do not develop resistance to PVP-I.


Limitations of PVP-I's use in the form of aqueous solutions includes irritation at the site of application, redness, hives and the staining of surrounding tissues. Toxicities are rare, as opposed to tincture of iodine and other iodine containing solutions. PVP-I carries iodine in a complex form and the concentration and absorption through the skin of free iodine is very low. PVP-I may be referred to or classified as an iodophor.