The Food and Drug Administration banned 223 ingredients in over-the-counter drugs yesterday, saying manufacturers had offered no proof they were effective for problems they were supposed to treat.
The ingredients ranged from pine tar in dandruff fighters through dehydrated garlic in digestive aids, to aspirin in medications for external use.
The FDA did not entirely prohibit the ingredients, just in certain uses. For example, aspirin still may be used in products for pain relief taken internally because it has been shown to be an effective pain reliever.
The over-the-counter drug industry said most of the ingredients already had been withdrawn, but some familiar drugstore and supermarket products still will be affected, the FDA said.
For example, Tegrin Lotion, sold for use against psoriasis, no longer may contain allantoin. Also Packers shampoo and soap may not contain pine tar, and Donnagel, used to treat diarrhea, no longer may include atropine sulfate, hyoscyamine sulfate and scopolamine hydrobromide.
The ban becomes effective in six months. The FDA said none of the ingredients posed a safety problem in any of the banned uses.
The ruling is part of an 18-year review of about 300,000 non-prescription products that were on the market in 1972.
As part of its effort to complete the review, the FDA last week proposed to ban 111 drug ingredients in over-the-counter diet products. Most companies have stopped using those ingredients, industry officials said.
Other banned ingredients are used in, among other things, topical acne drug products, antiperspirant products, cough and cold medications, laxatives, nail-biting and thumb-sucking deterrents, poison treatments and drug products used to help people stop smoking.
Manufacturers have been on notice since May that the FDA wanted to ban the 223 ingredients and most have reformulated their products, said Jack Walden, a spokesman of the Nonprescription Drug Manufacturers Association.
"Overwhelmingly, this is a housekeeping action," he said. "The industry long ago came into compliance. . . . It affects products now on the market very, very little."