A randomized controlled trial of the efficacy of cosmetic talc compared with iodopovidone for chemical pleurodesis

Respirology. 2011 Oct;16(7):1064-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1843.2011.01999.x.


Background and objective: Talc is an effective and widely used agent for chemical pleurodesis. However, limited availability and high cost hamper the routine use of talc in resource poor countries. In this study, we compared the efficacy and safety of iodopovidone with that of cosmetic talc, for chemical pleurodesis.

Methods: Patients with recurrent pleural effusions and/or spontaneous pneumothorax were prospectively randomized to undergo pleurodesis with cosmetic talc (5g) or iodopovidone (20mL of a 10% solution) by tube thoracostomy. The cosmetic talc was pretested for impurities (asbestos-free) and particle size (20-60µm), using energy dispersive analysis by X-ray and scanning electron microscopy. The success rate (complete or partial), time to pleurodesis and safety of these two agents was compared.

Results: Pleurodesis was performed in 73 patients (39 with iodopovidone, 34 with cosmetic talc; 56 men, 17 women; mean age 51.7 years; 38 pleural effusions, 35 pneumothoraces). A complete response was obtained in all patients with pneumothorax in both the iodopovidone and talc groups. Among patients with pleural effusions, a complete response was observed in 16/19 and 15/19 patients in the iodopovidone and talc groups, respectively. A partial response was observed in two additional patients from each group. The time to pleurodesis was similar in the two groups. Minor side-effects (fever, chest pain) were observed with similar frequencies in the two groups. None of the patients experienced hypotension or ARDS.

Conclusions: Iodopovidone and cosmetic talc are equally efficacious and safe agents for chemical pleurodesis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage*
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Chest Tubes
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indoles / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Particle Size
  • Pleural Effusion / therapy*
  • Pleurodesis / methods*
  • Pneumothorax / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Talc / administration & dosage*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Indoles
  • Talc
  • iodopravadoline