The medical uses of silver include its use in wound dressings, creams, and as an antibiotic coating on medical devices. Wound dressings containing silver sulfadiazine or silver nanomaterials may be used to treat external infections. The limited evidence available shows that silver coatings on endotracheal breathing tubes may reduce the incidence of ventilator-associated pneumonia. There is tentative evidence that using silver-alloy indwelling catheters for short-term catheterizing will reduce the risk of catheter-acquired urinary tract infections.
Silver generally has low toxicity, and minimal risk is expected when silver is used in approved medical applications. Alternative medicine products such as colloidal silver are not safe or effective.
Mechanism of action
Silver and most silver compounds have an oligodynamic effect and are toxic for bacteria, algae, and fungi in vitro. The antibacterial action of silver is dependent on the silver ion. The e