Burow's solution

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Burow's solution, named after the mid-19th century ophthalmologist Karl August Burow, is a pharmacological preparation comprising an aqueous solution of aluminium acetate. It is available in the U.S. as an over the counter preparation, with brand-names including Domeboro, Domeboro Otic, Star-Otic, and Borofair.[1] The preparation has astringent and antibacterial properties and may be used to treat a number of skin conditions such as insect bites, rashes caused by poison ivy and poison sumac, swelling, allergies and bruises. However its principal use is as a treatment for otitis, including otomycosis.[2]


The creator of Burow's solution upon which Domeboro, Domeboro Otic, Star-Otic, and Borofair are based was Karl August Burow (1809-1874), a military surgeon and anatomist. Burow was also the inventor of plastic surgery and wound healing techniques which are still in wide use today.[3]


Burow's solution may be used to treat various forms of otitis.[4][5] As a drug it is inexpensive and non-ototoxic. In cases of otomycosis it is less effective than clotrimazole but remains an effective treatment.[6]

Skin Irritations[edit]

The most advanced versions of Burow's solution such as the American brand Domeboro can be used as a soak or compress. As an approved astringent by the FDA, Domeboro is used for the relief of skin irritations due to poison ivy, oak and sumac, rashes from allergic reactions to soaps, detergents, cosmetics and jewelry. This is due to the combination of two active ingredients found in this version of Burow's solution, i.e. aluminum sulfate tetradecahydrate and calcium acetate monohydrate.[7][8][9]

Off-Label Usages[edit]

Many consumers have found off-label usages for products derived from Burow's solution. Due to the strength of the solution, some use it to treat ingrown nails, where products derived from Burow's solution such as Domeboro are used in combination with warm water to help consumers contain the infection.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Drugs.com: Acetic acid/ aluminum acetate solution
  2. ^ Thorp; Kruger, J.; Oliver, S.; Nilssen, E. L. K.; Prescott, C. A. J. et al. (1998). "The antibacterial activity of acetic acid and Burow's solution as topical otological preparations". J. Laryngology & Otology (Cambridge University Press) 112 (10): 925–928. doi:10.1017/S0022215100142100. 
  3. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=N5nWmFCbYqcC
  4. ^ Kashiwamura M, Chida E, Matsumura M, Nakamaru Y, Suda N, Terayama Y, Fukuda S (January 2004). "The efficacy of Burow's solution as an ear preparation for the treatment of chronic ear infections". Otology & Neurotology 25 (1): 9–13. doi:10.1097/00129492-200401000-00002. PMID 14724484. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  5. ^ Kashiwamura, Masaaki; Chida, Eiji; Matsumura, Michiya; Nakamaru, Yuuji; Suda, Noriyuki; Terayama, Yoshihiko; Fukuda, Satoshi (Jan 2004). "The Efficacy of Burow's Solution as an Ear Preparation for the Treatment of Chronic Ear Infections". Otology & Neurotology 25 (1): 9–13. doi:10.1097/00129492-200401000-00002. PMID 14724484. 
  6. ^ Munguia, Raymundo; Daniel, Sam J. (April 2008). "Ototopical antifungals and otomycosis: A review". International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 72 (4): 453–459. doi:10.1016/j.ijporl.2007.12.005. PMID 18279975. 
  7. ^ "Domeboro". http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 
  8. ^ "FDA". http://www.fda.gov/. 
  9. ^ http://www.domeboro.com/about-domeboro/
  10. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/symptoms/foot-pain/ingrown-toenails.html