Published: Fri, May 25, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

FDA Warns Parents To Stop Giving Unsafe Teething Medicines to Children

FDA Warns Parents To Stop Giving Unsafe Teething Medicines to Children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned parents not to use the common over-the-counter products that contain benzocaine agent for teething purposes.

Of particular concern is a rare but potentially life-threatening side effect benzocaine can have in babies and young children called methemoglobinemia, in which the amount of oxygen in a person's blood is reduced.

Benzocaine is used in products to treat not just teething, but also sore throats, canker sores, and other oral irritations. The FDA has warned companies of legal action if these products are not removed from the market and their sales are not stopped for babies. Also, the agency is requesting that companies add new warnings to all other benzocaine oral health products to describe certain serious risks. It can cause a blood condition linked to breathing problems. At the time, it estimated that there have been more than 400 cases of benzocaine-associated methemoglobinemia reported to the FDA or published in medical literature since 1971. Instead of using over-the-counter products, parents can help their children cope with teething symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of methemoglobinemia include pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds; dyspnea; fatigue; confusion; headache; lightheadedness; and tachycardia.

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If you can see that the teeth are breaking through the surface, Logan says you can also give your child a small dose of Tylenol.

"I always said I was never going to use it", says Geelyn Warren who used natural options for her 2-year-old daughter Ansley when she was teething.

What can be done to ease the pain for a teething baby?

According to Church and Dwight Co.

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For treatment of teething pain, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using teething rings made of firm rubber (not frozen), or gently rubbing or massaging the child's gums with a finger.

The child can start showing symptoms of methemoglobinemia in few minutes after using these products. They said various gels and creams, including four Orajel teething brands, contain the drug Benzocaine.

Use of such products with benzocaine may lead to methemoglobinemia.

FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a release there are "no demonstrated benefits" from the benzocaine products.

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