TCP (antiseptic)

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200ml TCP bottle

TCP is a mild antiseptic, produced in France by Laboratoires Chemineau in Vouvray and sold in the United Kingdom by Omega Pharma.

TCP was introduced in 1918.[1] 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.[2] 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.

Omega Pharma acquired the rights to TCP from Pfizer in 2004.[3][4]


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 throat lozenges, and was formerly available as a cream.

A spray plaster was or is available under the TCP brand.[5]


The instructions on the TCP bottle state that TCP can be used for sore throats, mouth ulcers, cuts, grazes, bites and stings, boils, spots and pimples.[6]

It 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.[citation needed]

Harmful effects[edit]

Published advice states that TCP should not be swallowed, and recommends drinking plenty of water if 30ml or more of TCP is swallowed, and seeking medical advice if discomfort persists.[7] Phenolic compounds such as those in TCP are harmful to cats.[8]


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).[1]) It also contains glycerol, concentrated phosphoric acid, Quinoline Yellow WS and water. Formerly, when the product was manufactured by Unicliffe Ltd, the bottle label's list of ingredients stated, referring to the solution of halogenated phenolic bodies, "with partial elimination of the ionisable halides".

In the media[edit]

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. TCP is used as the subject of a song by the same name on The Boys' 1978 album Alternative Chartbusters written by Honest John Plain. TCP is mentioned in the song "Obsessions" by Suede.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Omega Pharma: TCP". Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  2. ^ Jim Clark. "What exactly does the antiseptic TCP contain?". Chemguide. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  3. ^ According to a spokesperson for Pfizer in South Africa, as reported by Liz Clark, Daily News, March 6, 2006 Edition 1, Durban, South Africa
  4. ^ "Omega Pharma acquires a portfolio of OTC and personal care brands from Pfizer" (PDF) (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 million (approximately $US163 million). The transaction is expected to be completed at or shortly after the end of June 2004. 
  5. ^ "TCP First Aid Spray Plaster 30ml". Retrieved 30 Nov 2016. 
  6. ^ "Pimples: TCP". Retrieved 2015-06-10. 
  7. ^ TCP
  8. ^ Ashleigh Veterinary Centre: disinfectants

External links[edit]