The brand name comes from its original chemical name, which was trichlorophenylmethyliodosalicyl (not to be confused with trichlorophenol, a common fungicide). Trichlorophenylmethyliodosalicyl was replaced as the active ingredient by a mixture of phenol and halogenated phenols in the 1950s. The liquid form of TCP is one of the most well-known brands of antiseptic in the UK, and its distinctive overbearing medicinal odour can be identified by many as a generic antiseptic smell.
TCP is currently[when?] available in 50-millilitre (1.8 imp fl oz; 1.7 US fl oz), 100 ml (3.5 imp fl oz; 3.4 US fl oz), 200 ml (7.0 imp fl oz; 6.8 US fl oz) and 500 ml (18 imp fl oz; 17 US fl oz) bottles as a clear yellow liquid. It is also available as a cream, and as throat lozenges.
The instructions contained on the TCP bottle state that TCP can be used for the following conditions:
- Sore throats - Gargle a solution of TCP with 5 parts water twice a day. Do not swallow.
- Mouth ulcers - Dab undiluted three times a day.
- Cuts, grazes, bites and stings - Dilute 1 part TCP with 1 part water and apply freely. (TCP may be used undiluted in an emergency).
- Boils, spots and pimples - Dab undiluted once every four hours.
TCP can also be used as a mouthwash when diluted, and can also be used as a general disinfectant. A Pfizer representative in South Africa stated that if diluted, it can be used as a vaginal douche, although the safety of this has not been fully ascertained.
Care should be taken not to swallow TCP. If one starts to feel unwell after using TCP, one should see a medical practitioner immediately. TCP should not be used on cats, as its phenol content makes it toxic to felines.
TCP Liquid's active ingredients are halogenated phenols and phenol. (One source says each millilitre (0.04 imp fl oz; 0.03 US fl oz) of TCP antiseptic contains, Chlorinated Phenols 6 milligrams (0.093 grains); Phenol 1.75 mg (0.0270 gr); Iodinated Phenols 0.95 mg (0.0147 gr); Sodium Salicylate 0.5 mg (0.0077 gr).) It also contains glycerol, concentrated phosphoric acid, Quinoline Yellow WS and water.
In the media
TCP was referred to numerous times in a running gag in Episode 2 of Series 2 of the BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave, alluding to its distinctive and long-lasting odour. TCP was mentioned as an ingredient in a tonic in the film The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977). In the 1963 Ian Fleming story Agent 007 in New York, James Bond laments the fact that one of his lovers always gargles with TCP after their trysts.
- Jim Clark. "What exactly does the antiseptic TCP contain?". Chemguide. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
- According to a spokesperson for Pfizer in South Africa, as reported by Liz Clark, Daily News, March 6, 2006 Edition 1, Durban, South Africa
- "Omega Pharma acquires a portfolio of OTC and personal care brands from Pfizer" (Press release). Omega Pharma. 2004-05-26. Retrieved 2007-07-30. "Omega Pharma has agreed to acquire a portfolio of 60 European OTC and personal care brands from Pfizer for cash consideration of €135 million (approximately $US163 million). The transaction is expected to be completed at or shortly after the end of June 2004."