Research Article| Volume 95, ISSUE 2, P175-182, February 2017

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Dose considerations for alcohol-based hand rubs

Published:January 04, 2017DOI:



      Manufacturers’ recommended dosages for alcohol-based hand rubs are typically determined by measuring product efficacy using a model protocol such as EN 1500; however, anecdotal reports and informal observation suggests that in many cases users self-titrate to much lower doses in real-world application.


      To examine the interdependence of alcohol-based hand-rub volume on in-vivo efficacy using the EN 1500 standard test method, on drying time on users’ hands, and on their perceptions of acceptability.


      Three formulations were studied using EN 1500 and a modification of this method. The modification used volumes ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 mL and 30 s application. Drying times were recorded and user acceptability was established using a three-point scale (too long, OK, or too short). Dying times were analysed in relation to hand surface area.


      The drying time for all three products increased as a function of volume. The drying time displayed a positive association with volume and a negative association with hand surface area. The optimum volume for user acceptability was between 1.5 and 2 mL, yielding a drying time of between 20 and 30 s.


      Whereas EN 1500 is appropriate for establishing the efficacy of a hygienic hand-rub formulation compared to a benchmark, it does not reflect actual in-use conditions or the likely clinical effectiveness of the product. In particular, it fails to address the need to optimize the volume of application and user acceptability of the product.


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