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PABA is probably safe when taken at a dosage up to 400 mg daily. Possible side effects at this dosage are minor, including skin rash and loss of appetite. 1 Higher doses are a different story, however. There has been one reported case of severe liver toxicity in a woman taking 12 g daily of PABA. 2 Fortunately, her liver recovered completely after she discontinued her use of this supplement. Also, a recent study suggests that 8 g daily of PABA can cause vitiligo, the patchy skin disease described previously. 3 Clearly, there are questions that need to be answered about the safety of high-dose PABA therapy. You shouldn’t take more than 400 mg daily except under medical supervision.
PABA may interfere with certain medications, including sulfa antibiotics . 4 Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with serious liver or kidney disease has not been determined.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking sulfa antibiotics such as Bactrim or Septra , do not take PABA supplements except on medical advice.
- Physicians’ Desk Reference. Oradell, NJ: Medical Economics Co; 1989.
- Kantor GR, Ratz JL. Liver toxicity from potassium para-aminobenzoate. J Am Acad Dermatol. 13(4):671-2.
- Hughes CG. Oral PABA and vitiligo [letter]. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1983;9:770.
- Degowin RL, Eppes RB, Carson PE, et al. The effects of diaphenylsulfone (DDS) against chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum.Bull World Health Organ. 1966;34:671–681.