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Open Access Research article

The percutaneous permeation of a combination of 0.1% octenidine dihydrochloride and 2% 2-phenoxyethanol (octenisept®) through skin of different species in vitro

Jessica Stahl1*, Michael Braun2, Joerg Siebert2 and Manfred Kietzmann1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation, Buenteweg 17, 30559 Hannover, Germany

2 Schülke & Mayr GmbH, Robert-Koch-Strasse 2, 22851 Norderstedt, Germany

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BMC Veterinary Research 2011, 7:44  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-7-44

Published: 11 August 2011



A water based combination of 0.1% octenidine dihydrochloride and 2% 2 - phenoxyethanol is registered in many European countries as an antiseptic solution (octenisept®) for topical treatment with high antimicrobial activity for human use, but octenidine based products have not been registered for veterinary use yet. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether octenidine dihydrochloride or 2 -phenoxyethanol, the two main components of this disinfectant, permeate through animal skin in vitro. Therefore, permeation studies were conducted using Franz-type diffusion cells. 2 ml of the test compound were applied onto 1.77 cm2 split skin of cats, dogs, cows and horses. To simulate wounded skin, cattle skin was treated with adhesive tapes 100 times, as well. Up to an incubation time of 28 hours samples of the acceptor chamber were taken and were analysed by UV-HPLC. Using the method of the external standard, the apparent permeability coefficient, the flux Jmax, and the recovery were calculated. Furthermore, the residues of both components in the skin samples were determined after completion of the diffusion experiment.


After 28 hours no octenidine dihydrochloride was found in the receptor chamber of intact skin samples, while 2.7% of the topical applied octenidine dihydrochloride permeated through barrier disrupted cattle skin. 2 - phenoxyethanol permeated through all skin samples with the highest permeability in equine, followed by bovine, canine to feline skin. Furthermore, both components were found in the stratum corneum and the dermis of all split skin samples with different amounts in the examined species.


For 2-phenoxyethanol the systemic impact of the high absorption rate and a potential toxicological risk have to be investigated in further studies. Due to its low absorption rates through the skin, octenidine dihydrochloride is suitable for superficial skin treatment in the examined species.