The term bacteriostatic water is not common for us. However, it is clear; it has some special properties that make it vital for the medical fraternity. Often, we tend to confuse between bacteriostatic water and sterile water.
Sometimes, the doctor may prescribe a drug that requires mixing with bacteriostatic water and then injected to the body. Here, it is essential to understand the differences between sterile and bacteriostatic water. So, let us take an elaborate look to have a better perceptive on bacteriostatic water vs sterile water.

Sterile Water

Sterile water as we all know is purified water. The water is distilled in a way so that the pH comes to 5.0 - 7.0. It does not contain any form of preservatives or antimicrobial agents. Of course, sterile water is used as a medium for injections in all three forms i.e. intramuscular, intravenous, and subcutaneous.
Sterile water is also an essential medium for performing rinsing, washing, and diluting activities. However, the formulation for the latter is different. Before administering, ensure, you are using the proper formulation for the specific job. Sterile water is available in single-unit doses and you cannot reuse it. The reason being, sterile water is devoid of antimicrobials and the chances of contamination are very high.

Bacteriostatic water

Bacteriostatic water is also a sterile form of water. The pH is brought to 4.5-7.0. Now, the essential difference with sterile water, bacteriostatic water contains an active ingredient called bacteriostat, which is 0.0% benzyl alcohol. The purpose of using bacteriostatic water is to give injections in all the three known ways. The benzyl alcohol makes the bacteriostatic water suitable for multiple uses and it also comes in a multi-dose formulation.

The differences worth mentioning

Reading this far, you can conveniently identify a potential difference between sterile and bacteriostatic water. The former is plain sterile and includes distilled water. Whereas bacteriostatic water contains benzyl alcohol, and it becomes evident which one is suitable for use in allergies.

Many individuals are allergic to benzyl alcohol, in such cases; the use of bacteriostatic water is not advisable. Similarly, the FDA has strict guidelines as far as the indications go. Precisely, sterile water is usable for both injections and irrigation, and bacteriostatic water is usable only for injections.

The lack of a bacteriostat makes sterile water suitable for single use. Bacteriostatic water on the other hand is used multiple times for up to 28 days. Thus, the bacteriostatic water can play a crucial role when you are making arrangements for traveling, budgeting monthly expenses, and storage.

Usually, medicines that require diluting state in their label which type of water is preferable for the best results. Therefore, you must read the label carefully before selecting the water variant.

Another interesting aspect which not many of us are familiar with, manufacturing bacteriostatic water is comparatively easier than manufacturing sterile water. More often than not, medical practices might encounter shortages in supplies of sterile water. For medicines that can be used with both types of water, using the bacteriostatic water is more preferable for all the right reasons.

The similarities

Despite the differences, both these water variants have some similarities that overlap in both solvents. Neither bacteriostatic water nor sterile water is used for straight injections. You need to dilute them with some other solvent or drug. Both these forms of water are nonpyrogenic, i.e. the individual who receives it will not suffer from fever. We already mentioned earlier, both of these are suitable for the three known types of injections.

Now, that you know the differences between the bacteriostatic and sterile water, it should not be a problem anymore to purchase the right variant for the desirable results.

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