Silver has been used for centuries to control microbial growth and prevent infection. It is cost effective, efficacious, has low human toxicity and can be applied to a myriad of substrates. But can something with such a great infection control record be doing more harm than good?


A Norwegian research team recently discovered silver coated central-line catheters react with and break down the chemotherapy drug 5-Fluorouracil (5-Fu). The study showed silver treated catheters reduced 5-Fu levels by as much as 90% when administered at body temperature. Not only was drug dose affected but the silver catalyzed reaction was shown to produce a toxic by-product, putting both patient health and catheter integrity at risk. In comparison, graphene coated catheters were shown not to react with 5-Fu demonstrating a potential alternative coating for medical devices that contact chemotherapy drugs.


More thorough compatibility testing requirements, such as testing antimicrobial medical devices for interference with therapeutic drugs, may be warranted as new and existing antimicrobial technologies find use in novel medical applications.


Antimicrobial Test Laboratories has years of experience testing antimicrobial medical devices.  It has developed dozens of customized in vitro test methods and can help speed your company’s drug-device combo to pre-market approval.  Contact the lab for more information.