Methenamine (INN) or hexamine (former BAN) is a chemical compound comprised of methene (methylene) and an amine. It has two very different common uses: as an antibiotic (commonly the hippurate salt, methenamine hippurate), and as a solid fuel tablet used for cooking while camping or hiking. The name hexamine is more common in non-medicinal applications. more...
Methenamine hippurate is mainly used for the prophylaxis (prevention) of urinary tract infections, where it is hydrolysed in the acidic pH of the urine to form formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is an effective antiseptic against bacteria and fungi in vitro, but may not be effective in vivo - it has not shown to be effective for the treatment of urinary tract infections. Furthermore, certain bacteria (including Proteus spp. and Pseudomonas spp. increase urinary pH, rendering methenamine ineffective. (Rossi, 2004)
Methenamine can also be used to treat hyperhidrosis when applied topically. (Beers & Berkow, 1999)
Another important area for use of hexamine is in the production of powdery or liquid preparations of phenolic resins and phenolic resin moulding compounds, where hexamine is added as a hardening component. These products are used as binders, e.g. in brake and clutch linings, abrasive products, non-woven textiles, formed parts produced by moulding processes, and fireproof materials.
Hexamine is also used in corrosion inhibition, as a photochemical, in paints and lacquers, and food preservation. (Roempp, 1997; Ullmann, 1995)
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