Health Guide


What is it?

PABA is an abbreviation for para-aminobenzoic acid, a member of the vitamin B-complex. It has been used in dermatomyositis, infertility (female), pemphigus, Peyronie's disease, scleroderma, and vitiligo (white patches on skin). It is also used on the skin in sunscreens .

Other names for PABA include: Paraaminobenzoic Acid and Potaba.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much PABA you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking PABA. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions: Do not take PABA without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Medicines to treat infections called sulfonamides or sulfa drugs (examples: sulfadiazine; sulfamethizole (Thiosulfil Forte(R)); sulfamethoxazole (Gantanol(R)); sulfapyridine; sulfasalazine (Azulfidine(R)); sulfisoxazole (Gantrisin(R))) (7-9)


  • Before taking PABA, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You should not take more than 400 milligrams of PABA daily without first consulting your health care professional (1)
  • The use of PABA has been associated with liver problems (5)

Side Effects:

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hand, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash.

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Anorexia, fever, and upset stomach have been reported with the use of PABA (4)
  • Blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, flaking of skin, rash, severe redness or soreness, swelling of skin (10)
  • Vitiligo (patches of white skin) (6)


1. Liniger S (ed): The Natural Pharmacy. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1998

2. Zarafonetis CJD et al: retrospective studies in scleroderma: Effect of potassium para-aminobenzoate on survival. J Clin Epidemiol 1988;41:193-205.

3. Hendler SS: The doctors' vitamin and mineral encyclopedia. Fireside Press, New York, NY;1990.

4. Anon: Physicians' Desk Reference. Med Economics Co Inc, Oradell, NJ; 1986.

5. Kantor GR, Ratz JL: Liver toxicity form potassium paraminobenzoate. (Letter) J AM Acad Dermatol 1985; 13(4):671-672.

6. Hughes CG: Oral PABA and vitiligo. J Am Acad Dermatol 1983;9:770.

7. Anon: Evaluation of Drug Interactions, 2nd. American Pharmaceutical Association, Washington, DC, 1976.

8. Avery GS: Check-list to potential clinically important interactions. Drugs 1973; 5:187-211.

9. Sveen OB, Yaekel M, & Adair SM: Efficacy of using benzocaine for temporary relief of toothache. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1982; 53:574-576.

10. Fisher AA: Sunscreen dermatitis: para-aminobenzoic acid and its derivatives. CUTIS 1992a; 50:190-192.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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