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Medical Areas: Dermatology
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Skin Exposure Reduction Paste Against Chemical Warfare Agents (SERPACWA)
The following drug information is obtained from various newswires, published
medical journal articles, and medical conference presentations.
Company: U.S. Army Medical Research, Material Command
Approval Status: Approved February 2000
Treatment Area: For use in conjunction with MOPP gear to reduce the absorption of chemical warfare agents through the skin
The Skin Exposure Reduction Paste Against Chemical Warfare
Agents (SERPACWA) is indicated for the use in conjunction with
Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) gear to reduce or delay
the absorption of chemical warfare agents through the skin when
SERPACWA is applied prior to exposure.
SERPACWA was not tested for protection against chemical warfare
agents in humans.
One clinical study was conducted to evaluate SERPACWA's
effectiveness in the reduction of the severity of dermatitis
associated with continuous contact with urushiol (poison ivy resin)
in 50 healthy volunteers with history of sensitivity to urushiol.
Not all treated individuals were completely protected from the
reaction, and the development of dermatitis varied among test
subjects. However, results indicated that SERPACWA-treated skin
sites exhibited fewer effects of dermatitis due to the urushiol
than did the untreated sites.
Another study was performed to determine whether perspiration
prevented the effectiveness of the product. SERPACWA was applied to
certain sites of the skin of 37 normal volunteers. The participants
were then exposed to conditions which promoted active perspiration.
Finally, the participants were exposed to the dermal
irritant/vasodilator methyl nicotinate for 2 minutes. Results
showed that there was substantially less cutaneous vasodilation at
the treated sites than at the non-treated sites. Again, the effects
were variable among participants and not all individuals were
completely protected from the irritant.
- SERPACWA is intended for external use only
- Fumes from the PTFE component of SERPACWA are harmful and can
cause polymer fume fever, a flu-like syndrome whose long-term
effects have not yet been determined. Do not handle
cigarettes or any other smoking products if you have been exposed
to even a small amount of SERPACWA.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after touching or applying
- Cease smoking and discard any potentially contaminated
- Clothing or other products exposed to SERPACWA (including
SERPACWA packaging materials) should not be destroyed by
- The presence of insect repellent containing DEET significantly
reduces the effectiveness of SERPACWA. Remove any product
containing DEET with a dry towel or cloth before applying
- Some camouflage pants may also reduce the barrier effects of
In clinical studies SERPACWA was only left in place for a
maximum of five hours. In studies, no adverse effects were
associated with SERPACWA use.
Information for Personnel:
- SERPACWA is to be applied in conjunction with and prior to the
wearing of MOPP gear.
- SERPACWA's ability to delay or reduce absorption of CWA
after 5 hours from its application is unknown.
- Very harmful fumes are generated from smoking/burning this
product. Extreme caution should be exercised while handling smoking
materials in the presence of SERPACWA.
- Any interaction between SERPACWA and the skin decontaminating
kit is still unknown. However, in animal testing, it has been shown
that SERPACWA-like products used in conjunction with a skin
decontaminating kit, is more effective than using the skin
decontaminating kit alone.
After the product is applied, if exposure to CWA is
confirmed or suspected, follow the appropriate protocol for
Mechanism of Action
SERPACWA serves as a physical barrier that may reduce or delay
exposure of skin to chemical warfare agents (CWA). SERPACWA has no
other known action.