Difference Between Betadine and Iodine

Betadine vs Iodine

The difference between Betadine and Iodine, basically, stems from their chemical nature. Iodine is a rare element that usually exists as a diatomic molecule. Betadine is a complex chemical compound containing iodine in a complex form. Both iodine and betadine have numerous commercial uses and unique applications; basically betadine is used as an antiseptic solution and pure iodine is a chemical element in the periodic table. This article explains the chemical nature, uses, and the differences between Betadine and Iodine in detail.

What is Iodine?

Iodine is a chemical element (I-53) and it is a bluish-black coloured solid under standard conditions. It exists as a diatomic molecule (I2) having only one stable isotope. The word Iodine is a Greek word, meaning purple or violet. Iodine has been in use for more than 170 years as a highly effective antimicrobial agent in clinical treatments. Iodine is a dark violet, non-metallic natural liquid that plays an important role in human metabolism. Iodine is an essential element in the production of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency can result in hypothyroidism. Iodine occurs in the form of iodine ions in the seawater, fish, oysters, and in some seaweeds. It also can be found in vegetables grown in iodine-rich soil and in dairy products. Iodine has been considered as the most effective disinfectant available.

Difference Between Betadine and Iodine

Structure of Solid Iodine

The use of iodine is safe for several reasons. When iodine makes a bond with another molecule, it becomes less toxic and, in a single application, iodine is slowly released from the reservoir career molecule over a sustained period instead of high concentrations at once.

What is Betadine?

Betadine is an antiseptic solution that contains a complex of iodine. It was introduced in the 1960s and it is the most commonly used iodophor in modern clinical use. Povidone iodine (PVP-Iodine) is the active substance in Betadine; it is a complex of polyvinylpyrrolidone (povidone or PVP). In addition to PVP, molecular iodine (9.0% to 12.0%) is also present in Betadine. 100 ml of Betadine solution contains about 10 g of Povidone-iodine. It is now available in different formulas such as solution, cream, ointment, spray, and wound dressings.

Betadine vs Iodine

Schematic of Povidone-Iodine complex wrapping a single wall carbon nanotube (black)

What is the difference between Betadine and Iodine?

• Iodine is a chemical element and Betadine is a clinical product, which mainly contains a complex of iodine and molecular iodine.

• Betadine is mostly used in medical industry as an antiseptic solution, but iodine has so many industrial applications ( as a nutrient, in commercial production of acetic acid and polymers, etc.).

• Iodine is a diatomic molecule whereas Betadine is a polyatomic chemical compound.

• In standard conditions, Iodine is a bluish-black coloured solid and betadine is available in different formulas such as liquid, cream, ointment, spray, or as a wound dressing.


Betadine vs Iodine

Both Betadine and Iodine contain iodine. In Betadine, iodine is present in two forms; in a complex and as the elemental form. Therefore, Betadine is a product which mainly contains iodine. Iodine is a chemical element in the halogen group. Similar to other halogens, iodine has a large number of stable oxidation states, ranging from (+7) to (-1). Iodine reacts with most of the chemical elements, except noble gases to form stable compounds.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Structure of solid iodine via Wikicommons (Public Domain)
  2. Schematic of povidone-iodine complex wrapping a single wall carbon nanotube (black) by  Principalianedicus (CC BY-SA 3.0)