FDA issues warning about over-the-counter acne medications

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The FDA is warning consumers who use certain kinds of over-the-counter medications for acne to seek medical help if they experience extreme allergic reactions. These reactions include fainting, breathing difficulties, throat tightness or swelling of the eyes, lips, face or tongue. Even if users develop less threatening symptoms, they should call a doctor. These lesser symptoms include hives or general itching.

Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid

The message was issued by the FDA specifically responding to reports of significant allergic responses to topical acne products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Medicines with these active ingredients do carry a label warning for itching, peeling, redness, burning, dryness and slight swelling where the product is applied. They are now concerned that some people may have a more significant allergic response. “There is currently no mention of the possibility of these very severe allergic reactions on the product label. It’s important that consumer s know about them and that they know what to do if they occur,” said Dr. Mona Khurana, a medical officer with the FDA.

Many popular brands contain the ingredients

These active ingredients are found in a number of over-the-counter products from a variety of manufacturers including face washes, solutions, cleansing pads, gels, lotions, toners, face scrubs and other products. Ambi, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, MaxClarity, Neutrogena, Oxy and Proactiv, among others, all contain these ingredients.

Not sure how they are causing the allergic response

“Based on the information reported to the FDA, we cannot determine if the serious hypersensitivity reactions were triggered by the acne products’ active ingredients, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, the inactive ingredients, or by a combination of both,” noted the federal agency. They also stated that 42% of the reactions occurred within minutes of using the products. There have been no deaths.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, FDA


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