Effect of povidone-iodine on wound healing: a review

J Vasc Nurs. 1999 Mar;17(1):17-23. doi: 10.1016/s1062-0303(99)90004-3.


For the purpose of providing a summary of current clinical trials to determine whether povidone-iodine is beneficial or detrimental to wound healing, an integrated review was completed. Clinical trials were defined as any study that uses some concentration and form of povidone-iodine in a comparison or evaluation with other products or treatments resulting in an impact of povidone-iodine on wounds. The use of povidone-iodine for cleansing, irrigating, and dressing wounds is controversial. Wound healing is complex and requires safe and effective treatment modalities. Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have been done with conflicting results on bactericidal effects and cytotoxicity of this antimicrobial agent. Human and animal in vivo studies in the last 10 years were used for this review because often the relevance of in vitro data in clinical conditions are questioned. The varied studies provide evidence that in most instances, povidone-iodine did not effectively promote good wound healing; in fact, most studies showed either impaired wound healing, reduced wound strength, or infection.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / adverse effects
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Povidone-Iodine / adverse effects*
  • Povidone-Iodine / therapeutic use*
  • Research Design
  • Skin Care / methods
  • Skin Care / nursing
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wound Healing / physiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / nursing


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Povidone-Iodine