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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Safety

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Ibuprofen (Unapproved) topical drug products

Audience: Consumers, pharmacists

[Posted 08/21/2009] FDA informed consumers and healthcare professionals of its intent to take action against eight companies that market unlawful over-the-counter (OTC) topical drug products containing the pain reliever ibuprofen.  The products, which contain ibuprofen in combination with a variety of other active ingredients and are marketed for pain relief, are unapproved new drugs that require an approved new drug application in order to be legally marketed. Orally administered ibuprofen has been approved as a safe and effective treatment for pain and inflammation. There are no approved applications for topical ibuprofen products. Topical ibuprofen is often promoted as a “safer” alternative that can be used in place of oral ibuprofen because of certain side effects, such as stomach ulcers and cardiovascular effects that are associated with prolonged use of oral ibuprofen.  However, these safety claims for topical ibuprofen have not been reviewed by the FDA, nor has the agency evaluated what side effects might be associated with such products. 

The names of the products and manufacturers that received warning letters are: 
Emuprofen (Progressive Emu, Inc.)
BioEntopic 15% Ibuprofen Crème (BioCentric Laboratories, Inc.)
Ibunex Topical Ibuprofen (Core Products International, Inc.)
LoPain AF 15% Ibuprofen Crème (Geromatrix Health Products)
IB-RELIEF (MEKT LLC)
Profen HP (Ridge Medical Products)
IbuPRO-10 Plus (Meditrend, Inc. dba Progena Professional Formulations)
IBU-RELIEF 12 (Wonder Laboratories)

[08/20/2009 - FDA NEWS Release - FDA]