Cardinal Health Introduces Medical Gloves Designed to Help Improve Skin, Relieve Dermatitis

McGAW PARK, Ill. -- Cardinal Health, a leading provider of products and services supporting the healthcare industry, announced today it has received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market an advanced new line of medical gloves made with Neu-Thera, an emollient that is proven clinically to improve skin health and protect hands from irritation. The gloves are the first to be manufactured with a proprietary formula that protects, restores, moisturizes and soothes hands.

Repeated washing, scrubbing and gloving by physicians and nurses can cause dry and irritated hands. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that healthcare workers select products containing emollients to lower the risk of irritant contact dermatitis (Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings, October 2002.) Skin irritation, according to the CDC, is one reason clinicians don't adhere to recommended hand hygiene guidelines.

Contact dermatitis is a painful condition characterized by dry, itchy, red and cracked skin. Dermatitis can increase the risk of infection for patients and health-care workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurses miss an average of two work days annually due to dermatitis.

Following more than two years of research, development and clinical testing, Cardinal Health is introducing the Neu-Thera formulation in its leading line of Esteem synthetic exam and surgical gloves. Esteem surgical gloves are made of polyisoprene, which is known for its strength and barrier properties, elasticity and softness. Esteem exam gloves are made from nitrile, which is known for its chemical resistance, barrier integrity, elasticity and strength.

"Clinical trials indicate that one in four nurses have symptoms of dermatitis and 85 percent of the nurses indicate they experienced some type of skin problem at one time or another," said Michael Lynch, president of glove products at Cardinal Health. "We wanted to create a glove that would go beyond the standard attributes of protection and comfort -- we wanted a product that would actually improve the health of the clinician's skin. This is the only surgical glove on the market to receive FDA clearance with these attributes. Other companies offer gloves with generic ingredients, such as aloe, but none have been proven to perform at the level of our product."

Lynch added that contact dermatitis is often an under-reported condition. "Skin lesions or cracks are more likely to harbor infectious organisms, and dry, shedding skin increases the risk of transmitting infections. These new gloves will make it easier for hospitals, physician offices and other health care facilities to follow industry guidelines for appropriate hand care and infection control," he said.

Widespread reports highlight the serious risk of hospital-acquired infections. Reducing these infections is a priority across the healthcare industry. The Institute of Medicine reported last year that 44,000 to 98,000 preventable deaths annually are linked to medical errors and hospital-acquired infections.

To assure the effectiveness of Neu-Thera in improving skin health and protecting against irritation, Cardinal Health sponsored a series of clinical studies by the California Skin Research Institute. The institute uses standard methodologies established in the personal-care products industry.

"I wash my hands up to 20 times a day and they're constantly cracked and dry from scrubbing," said Frank Apantaku, MD, a surgeon at St. Elizabeth Hospital and St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center in Chicago. "Anything that would help alleviate this problem would be very welcome."

Healthy hands are important to clinicians for a personal reason: they reduce the risk of occupational exposure to hepatitis B and C, HIV and other pathogens that can enter the body through cracks or lesions in the skin. Good hand hygiene also lowers the risk of exposure to -- and transmission of -- contact organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus and E. Coli.

Cardinal Health invests in research and technological innovations to meet the needs of health-care providers and their patients. For more than 40 years, the company has been offering the most extensive, highest quality and technologically-advanced lines of medical gloves. In addition to the Esteem brand of exam and surgical gloves, the company also offers Protegrity and Protegrity Micro SMT surgical gloves, which have an advanced triple-dip bonding technology that combines the fit and feel of natural rubber latex with the powerful strength of nitrile for superior barrier integrity. In addition, Cardinal Health has a more complete line of latex and synthetic examination gloves to meet the needs of healthcare professionals in the lab, physician's office, hospital and other healthcare settings.

Source: Cardinal Health, Inc.

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