You may have heard about bacteriostatic water before. Maybe you have a friend who’s taking self-administered injectable medications at home or is on the HCG diet. So what type of water is it?
Obviously, bacteriostatic water has to be sterile because it’s used for most injection medication. It’s purpose is for dissolving or diluting drugs for injecting into your veins, muscles, or subcutaneously.
More and more patients choose to take their medication in the comfort of their homes. That’s why it’s important to understand what bacteriostatic water is and what it’s used for. You can’t make a mistake with injections because the consequences can be deadly.
Continue reading to learn more about bacteriostatic water.
What Is Bacteriostatic Water?
Bacteriostatic water is a type of sterile water that contains 0.9% benzyl alcohol. Benzyl alcohol gives it the bacteriostatic effect. It means that it inhibits the growth of any contaminating bacteria in the water.
Now you may be wondering, why use an agent that only prevents the growth and doesn’t outright kill the bacteria?
Indeed, bacteriostatic water doesn’t have bactericidal properties. The reason is that bacteria-killing additives can react adversely with a large number of drugs. Benzyl alcohol is more inert and can be mixed with a broader spectrum of pharmaceuticals.
How Is It Different From Sterile Water for Injection Medication?
Sterile water for injection contains distilled water and nothing else. There are no preservatives or antibacterials, unlike bacteriostatic water that has benzyl alcohol.
How Does the Addition of Benzyl Alcohol Change Things?
Let’s look at the advantages first. The first time you inject a syringe into a container, there’s a risk that the bottle can become contaminated. However, benzyl alcohol is there to stop the growth of bacteria that gets inside the container.
Therefore, bacteriostatic water can be used multiple times while sterile water is one-time use only. Also, because benzyl alcohol acts as a preservative, you can store it for up to 28 days.
Because of the arduous process of producing sterile water, you’re sometimes hard-pressed to find supplies. In contrast, bacteriostatic water is cheap and readily available. It can also be ordered online if you shop here.
What Are the Disadvantages?
While it’s considered mostly safe for use in adults, some people can be allergic to benzyl alcohol. If you have an allergy, discontinue use immediately and switch to sterile water.
It’s also contraindicated in infants and newborns. Toxicity from benzyl alcohol has been associated with neonatal deaths.
How Is Bacteriostatic Water Used?
There are three main ways to inject bacteriostatic water. The first is intravenous, in which the needle accesses the veins. The second one is intramuscular where the drug is injected into the muscles. In the third method, subcutaneous, the needle is inserted just beneath the skin.
Keep in mind that it can’t be used as a straight injection by itself. It’s either used as a solvent for powdered medication or to dilute other fluids. Always prepare your medication according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the drug to be administered.
Know What You’re Injecting
It’s important to know about the injection medication that goes into your body. Read the label, study the components, follow instructions, and always be safe!
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