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FDA seeks more data for 12 sunscreen active ingredients.

The Food and Drug Administration will seek more safety and efficacy data on 12 active sunscreen ingredients, including some of those frequently used in over-the-counter products.

The ingredients requiring additional investigation are avobenzone, cinoxate, dioxybenzone, ensulizole, homosalate, meradimate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone padimate O, and sulisobenzone. The FDA actions were announced during a press briefing in late February held to discuss the proposed rule to update regulatory requirements for most sunscreen products marketed in the United States.

There are no urgent safety matters associated with these ingredients. The rule is part of FDA's charge to construct an over-the-counter monograph detailing all available data on sunscreen ingredients, as required by the Sunscreen Innovation Act.

OTC monographs establish conditions under which ingredients may be marketed without approved new drug applications because they are generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) "and not misbranded," according to the FDA. The proposed rule classifies active ingredients and other conditions as Category I (proposed to be GRASE and not misbranded), Category II (proposed to be not GRASE or to be misbranded), or Category III (additional data needed).

"We are proposing that these ingredients require additional data before a positive GRASE determination can be made," FDA press officer Sandy Walsh said in an interview, referring to the 12 ingredients. "This proposed rule does not represent a conclusion by the FDA that the sunscreen active ingredients proposed as having insufficient data are unsafe for use in sunscreens. Rather, we are requesting additional information on these ingredients so that we can evaluate their GRASE status in light of changed conditions, including substantially increased sunscreen usage and evolving information about the potential risks associated with these products since they were originally evaluated."

Among its provisions, the proposal addresses sunscreen active-ingredient safety, dosage forms, and sun protection factor (SPF) and broad-spectrum requirements. It also proposes updates to how products are labeled to make it easier for consumers to identify key product information

Thus far, the agency says that only two active ingredients--titanium dioxide and zinc oxide--can be marketed without approved new drug applications because they are GRASE.

However, two other ingredients PABA and trolamine salicylate--are not GRASE for use in sunscreens because of safety issues, Theresa Michele, MD, director of the Division of Nonprescription Drug Products Division of Nonprescription Drug Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Products that combine sunscreen and insect repellent also not fit the criteria, she said

"There are 12 ingredients for which there are insufficient safety data to make a positive GRASE determination at this time. To address these 12 ingredients, the FDA is asking industry and other interested parties for additional data. The FDA is working closely with industry and has published several guidances to make sure companies understand what data the agency believes is necessary for the FDA to evaluate safety and effectiveness for sunscreen active ingredients, including the 12 ingredients for which the FDA is seeking more data," she said.

In addition to seeking these more comprehensive data, the rule also proposes the following:

* Dosage forms that are GRASE for use as sunscreens should include sprays, oils, lotions, creams, gels, butters, pastes, ointments, and sticks. While powders are proposed to be eligible for inclusion in the monograph, more data are being requested before powders are included. "Wipes, towelettes, body washes, shampoos, and other dosage forms are proposed to be categorized as new drugs because the FDA has not received data showing they are eligible for inclusion in the monograph," according to the FDA statement outlining the proposed regulation.

* The maximum proposed SPF value on sunscreen labels should be raised from SPF 50 or higher to SPF 60 or higher. "There are not enough data to suggest that consumers get any extra benefit from products with an SPF of more than 60," Dr. Michele said.

* Sunscreens with an SPF value of 15 or higher should be required to also provide broad-spectrum protection, and for broad-spectrum products, as SPF increases, the magnitude of protection against UVA radiation should also increase. "These proposals are designed to ensure that these products provide consumers with the protections that they expect," the statement said.

* New sunscreen product labels should be required to make it easier for consumers to identify important information, "including the addition of the active ingredients on the front of the package to bring sunscreen in line with other OTC drugs; a notification on the front label for consumers to read the skin cancer/skin aging alert for sunscreens that have not been shown to help prevent skin cancer; and revised formats for SPF, broad spectrum, and water resistance statements," the statement said.

* Products that combine sunscreens with insect repellents are not GRASE.

In the meantime, though, consumers should continue to use sunscreens regularly as part of a comprehensive sun protection program, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said during the briefing. "Broad spectrum sunscreens with SPF values of at least 15 are critical to the arsenal of tools for preventing skin cancer and protecting the skin from damage caused by the sun's rays," he continued. "Given the recognized public health benefits of sunscreen use, Americans should continue to use sunscreens in conjunction with other sun protective measures (such as protective clothing) as this important rule-making effort moves forward."

To submit comments on this proposed rule, go to and follow instructions for submitting comments. Electronic comments must be submitted on or before May 28, 2019.

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Author:Sullivan, Michele G.
Publication:Dermatology News
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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