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Clioquinol (Topical)

Brand Names

In Canada-

  • Vioform

Another commonly used name is iodochlorhydroxyquin.


  • Antibacterial, topical
  • Antifungal, topical


Clioquinol (klye-oh-KWIN-ole ) belongs to the family of medicines called anti-infectives. Clioquinol topical preparations are used to treat skin infections.

Clioquinol is available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper use of this medicine for your medical problem. It is available in the following dosage form:

  • Ointment ( Canada)

Before Using This Medicine

If you are using this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For clioquinol, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to clioquinol, chloroxine (e.g., Capitrol), hyroxyquinoline or other quinoline derivatives, iodine, or iodine-containing preparations. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy- Clioquinol topical preparations have not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in humans.

Breast-feeding- Clioquinol topical preparations have not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies. However, during breast-feeding, keep the infant from contacting the treated skin.

Children- Clioquinol is not recommended in children younger than 2 years of age. Although there is no specific information comparing use of this medicine in children 2 years of age and older with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children than it does in adults.

Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of this medicine in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of clioquinol. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Kidney disease or
  • Liver disease-Caution is advised with clioquinol use in patients with liver or kidney disease

Proper Use of This Medicine

Before applying this medicine, wash the affected area with soap and water, and dry thoroughly.

Do not use this medicine in or around the eyes . If accidental contact occurs, flush eyes with water.

Do not bandage or apply an occlusive dressing (airtight covering, such as kitchen plastic wrap) over this medicine , since it may increase the infection and may cause unwanted drug absorption into the body. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

To use the ointment form of this medicine:

  • Apply a thin layer of ointment to the affected area and rub in gently. The ointment is recommended for use on dry, crusted lesions.

To help clear up your infection completely, keep using this medicine for the full time of treatment , even if your symptoms have disappeared. Do not miss any doses .


The dose of clioquinol will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average dose of clioquinol. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For topical dosage form (ointment):
    • For bacterial or fungus infections:
      • Adults and children 2 years of age and older-Apply to the affected area(s) of the skin two or three times a day.
      • Children younger than 2 years of age-Use is not recommended.

Missed dose-

If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.


To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Keep the medicine from freezing.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

This medicine should not be used for more than 1 week. If your skin problem does not improve in 1 week, or if it becomes worse, check with your doctor.

Clioquinol should not be used to treat large areas of the skin or large open skin lesions. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

This medicine may turn yellow in color when exposed to air. It may stain clothing, skin, hair, and nails yellow. Avoid getting this medicine on your clothing since bleaching may not remove the stain.

Before you have any medical tests, tell the doctor in charge that you are using this medicine. The results of some tests may be affected by this medicine.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Rare
    • Burning, itching, rash, redness, swelling, or other sign of skin irritation not present before use of this medicine or becoming worse during treatment  

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT