May 25, 2016

Para-Aminobenzoic Acid (Paba)

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How does Para-aminobenzoic Acid (paba) work?

PABA is used as a sunscreen because it can block ultraviolet (UV) radiation to the skin.

Are there safety concerns?

PABA is LIKELY SAFE for most people when applied directly to the skin. There have not been any reports of significant harm, although there have been reports that PABA increases the likelihood of sunburn in some people, even though it usually works as a sun block.

PABA is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately and when applied to the eyes as a solution. PABA can cause skin irritation and might also stain clothing with a yellow color. Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, and loss of appetite might sometimes occur.

PABA is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in high doses. Taking more than 12 grams per day can cause serious side effects such as liver, kidney, and blood problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: When applied directly to the skin, PABA is LIKELY SAFE for children. PABA is POSSIBLY SAFE for children to take by mouth appropriately. Dose is important, as serious side effects can occur. PABA is POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in high doses. Some children who took doses of PABA greater than 220 mg/kg/day died.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: PABA is LIKELY SAFE when applied to the skin during pregnancy or breast-feeding. However, there is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking PABA by mouth if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Using PABA intravenously (by IV) might increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Kidney disease: PABA might build up in the kidneys making kidney disease worse. Do not use it if you have kidney problems.

Surgery: Using PABA intravenously (by IV) might increase the risk of bleeding during surgery. Stop taking PABA 2 weeks before surgery.


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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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