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FDA is announcing the availability of a guidance for industry entitled “Limiting the Use of Certain Phthalates as Excipients in CDER-Regulated Products.” This guidance provides the pharmaceutical industry with CDER's current thinking on the potential human health risks associated with exposure to DBP and DEHP. In particular, the guidance recommends that the pharmaceutical industry avoid the use of these two specific phthalates as excipients in CDER-regulated drug and biologic products, including prescription and nonprescription products. The recommendations in this guidance do not address the use of DBP or DEHP in other types of FDA-regulated products or exposure to DBP or DEHP due to the presence of any of these compounds as an impurity—including as a result of leaching from packaging materials and delivery systems.
Phthalate esters (phthalates) are synthetic chemicals with a broad spectrum of uses. Phthalates are found in certain pharmaceutical formulations, primarily as a plasticizer in enteric-coatings of solid oral drug products to maintain flexibility, but they also may be used for different functions in other dosage forms. Phthalates also are found in other products for uses such as softeners of plastics, solvents in perfumes, and additives to nail polish, as well as in lubricants and insect repellents.
Phthalates have been studied extensively in animals, and DBP and DEHP have been shown to be developmental and reproductive toxicants in laboratory animals. While the data in humans are less clear, epidemiological studies suggest that certain phthalates may affect reproductive and developmental outcomes. Other studies have confirmed the presence of DBP and DEHP in amniotic fluid, breast milk, urine, and serum.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicate widespread exposure of the general population to phthalates. Humans are exposed to phthalates by multiple
Although the currently available human data are limited, the Agency has determined that there is evidence that exposure to DBP and DEHP from pharmaceuticals presents a potential risk of developmental and reproductive toxicity. While it is recognized that drug products may carry inherent risks, DBP and DEHP are used as excipients, and safer alternatives are available. Therefore, the Agency recommends avoiding the use of DBP and DEHP as excipients in CDER-regulated drug and biologic products.
These recommendations apply to CDER-regulated drug and biologic products that are under development (i.e., investigational new drugs), nonapplication products (e.g., over the counter monograph products), and both marketed approved products and those currently under review for marketing consideration (i.e., new drug applications, abbreviated new drug applications, and biologics license applications).
There are alternatives to DBP and DEHP for use as excipients in CDER-regulated products. Manufacturers with products that contain DBP or DEHP should consider alternative excipients and determine if the alternative excipient they plan to use has been used in similar CDER-approved products and at what level.
The Inactive Ingredients Database provides information on excipients present in FDA-approved drug products, and this information can be helpful in developing drug products. As manufacturers reformulate their products, the listings for DBP and DEHP will be removed from the Inactive Ingredients Database.
This guidance is being issued consistent with FDA's good guidance practices regulation (21 CFR 10.115). The guidance represents the Agency's current thinking on limiting the use of certain phthalates as excipients in CDER-regulated products. It does not create or confer any rights for or on any person and does not operate to bind FDA or the public. An alternative approach may be used if such approach satisfies the requirements of the applicable statutes and regulations.
Interested persons may submit either written comments regarding this document to the Division of Dockets Management (see
This guidance refers to previously approved collections of information found in FDA regulations. These collections of information are subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) and have been approved under OMB control numbers 0910-0014 and 0910-0001.
Persons with access to the Internet may obtain the document at either