Some of the most popular over-the-counter acne ointments are causing dangerous side effects in unsuspecting consumers across the country. The FDA recently issued a Consumer Update warning that these products (containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid) can cause serious and life-threatening allergic reactions or severe irritation. Product liability lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm urge anyone seriously injured by this type of product to contact our firm immediately.
The skincare products are sold over-the-counter and applied topically, as ointments or lotions. Although they mention the risk of minor irritations on labels, such as itching, dryness, peeling, slight swelling, and redness, they do not warn consumers of the risk of severe allergic reactions. The FDA acknowledges that it is important that consumers know about this, and are informed what to do if these reactions do occur.
As mentioned, the affected products all contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Among the products containing these ingredients include Proactiv, Oxy, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, and Aveeno brands. In most patients the reactions occurred within just a few minutes of using a product; in others it took up to one day for a reaction to manifest.
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The reactions can include anything from throat tightness and difficulty breathing to fainting or collapse. These products can also cause extreme swelling of the eyes, face, lips or tongue, hives, wheezing, and low blood pressure. Officials are not yet sure whether it is the ingredients independently or their combination that triggers the allergic reactions.
The FDA stated that about 44% of those who suffer an allergic reaction have to be hospitalized. An additional 38% of reported cases were characterized as anaphylactic reactions that involve respiratory or cardiovascular problems. The average patient was 32 years old and female.
For now, before all labels can be updated, health experts recommend consumers should apply a small amount of the topical product to a small area of the skin for three days. If no discomfort or adverse reactions occur, consumers can follow direction for normal use.
What To Do If A Reaction Occurs
If you do experience an allergic reaction, the FDA recommends that you stop using the product immediately. Reactions typically begin as hives and itching of the face or body. Consumers should also seek immediate medical attention if they develop any throat tightness, swelling of the face, lips, eyes or tongue, start to feel faint, or have any difficulty breathing.
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Remember to report any negative reactions or side effects to the FDA’s MedWatch program (link here). This enables government officials and researchers to have the most relevant and accurate information, so they can make the most informed and helpful judgments possible.
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As a preventative measure, anyone who has had previous allergic or hypersensitivity reactions in the past should not use products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide as active ingredients. If acne is causing emotional distress or permanent scarring, or if the products you are currently using to treat it are not working, consider seeing a dermatologist.
Topical lotions containing these dangerous ingredients come in many forms, including gels, lotions, creams, pads, and soaps. If you want to avoid products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid (good idea), look for products with alternative acne-fighting ingredients, such as resorcinol and sulfur. Prescription topical products have alternative ingredients like antibiotics, azelaic acid, dapsone, and retinoids.
Dangerous product lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm have been fighting on behalf of victims injured by defective medications and products for over 35 years. If you or someone you love took a prescription or over-the-counter medication and developed a severe reaction, contact our firm immediately. We provide free, confidential, no-obligation legal consultations to prospective clients nationwide.