Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Methenamine (INN) or hexamine (former BAN) is a chemical compound comprised of methene (methylene) and an amine. It has two extremely different uses: as an antibiotic (commonly the hippurate salt, methenamine hippurate), and as a solid fuel tablet used for cooking while camping or hiking.
Methenamine hippurate is mainly used for the prophylaxis 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)
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