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Phenylmercuric Acetate

Phenylmercuric Acetate

Phenylmercuric acetate is a chemical compound that belongs to the class of organomercury compounds. It has been used historically as a preservative in various pharmaceutical and cosmetic products, although its use has declined due to concerns about mercury toxicity. Phenylmercuric acetate is a white crystalline powder with a faint odor. It is soluble in organic solvents and slightly soluble in water. The compound contains mercury, which is a heavy metal known for its toxicity.


Historically, phenylmercuric acetate has been used as a preservative in pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and cosmetics to prevent microbial contamination and extend product shelf life. However, due to its toxicity, safer alternatives are now preferred in many formulations.


As a preservative, the dosage of phenylmercuric acetate is typically low and depends on the specific formulation of the product. It is crucial to adhere to the recommended dosage provided by the manufacturer.


Phenylmercuric acetate is contraindicated in individuals with known hypersensitivity to mercury or organomercury compounds. It is also contraindicated in products intended for use in sensitive areas such as the eyes or mucous membranes.

Special Precautions

Caution should be exercised when using products containing phenylmercuric acetate. Prolonged or excessive exposure to mercury compounds can lead to systemic toxicity. Use in pediatric or pregnant populations should be carefully evaluated, and alternatives with a better safety profile should be considered.

Side Effects

Side effects of phenylmercuric acetate exposure may include skin irritation, allergic reactions, and, in extreme cases, symptoms of mercury poisoning such as neurological and renal dysfunction.

Drug Interactions

There is limited information on specific drug interactions involving phenylmercuric acetate. However, caution should be exercised when using it in combination with other medications, particularly those containing heavy metals.

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