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Impact of benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol on bacterial antimicrobial resistance

Maillard, Jean-Yves ORCID: 2022. Impact of benzalkonium chloride, benzethonium chloride and chloroxylenol on bacterial antimicrobial resistance. Journal of Applied Microbiology 133 (6) , pp. 3322-3346. 10.1111/jam.15739

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This review examined 3,655 articles on benzalkonium chloride (BKC), benzethonium chloride (BZT) and chloroxylenol (CHO) aiming to understand their impact on antimicrobial resistance. Following the application of inclusion/exclusion criteria only 230 articles were retained for analysis; 212 concerned BKC, with only 18 for CHO and BZT. 78% of studies used MIC to measure BKC efficacy. Very few studies defined the term “resistance” and 85% studies defined “resistance” as < 10-fold increase (40% as low as 2-fold) in MIC. Only a few in vitro studies reported on formulated products and when they did, products performed better. In vitro studies looking at the impact of BKC exposure on bacterial resistance used either a stepwise training protocol or exposure to constant BKC concentrations. In these BKC exposure resulted in elevated MIC or/and MBC, often associated with efflux, and at time, a change in antibiotic susceptibility profile. The clinical relevance of these findings was however neither reported nor addressed. Of note, several studies reported that bacterial strains with an elevated MIC or MBC remained susceptible to the in-use BKC concentration. BKC exposure was shown to reduce in bacterial diversity in complex microbial microcosms, although the clinical significance of such a change has not been established. The impact of BKC exposure on the dissemination of resistant genes (notably efflux) remains speculative, although it is manifest that clinical, veterinary and food isolates with elevated BKC MIC carried multiple efflux pump genes. The correlation between BKC usage and gene carriage, maintenance and dissemination has also not been established. The lack of clinical interpretation and significance in these studies does not allow to establish with certainty the role of BKC on AMR in practice. The limited literature and BZT and CHO do not allow to conclude that these will impact negatively on emerging bacterial resistance in practice.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1364-5072
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 August 2022
Date of Acceptance: 23 July 2022
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 15:15

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