FDA warns some teething medicines unsafe, wants them off shelves


On May 22, the FDA issued a warning about over-the-counter products containing benzocaine, citing "serious safety concerns" and a "lack of efficacy for teething". The video warned parents about these risks, also urging them to avoid homeopathic teething products.

New Jersey-based manufacturer Church and Dwight Co.

The FDA advised that consumers should refer to the OTC Drug Facts Label to check if the oral health drug product they are buying uses benzocaine as an active ingredient.

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An agency spokesperson says these products are not for use for treating sore gums due to teething because they wash out of a baby's mouth within minutes.

If your child is experiencing pain while teething, Logan recommends teething rings that are chilled but not frozen.

In addition, the FDA has asked manufacturers of OTC benzocaine-containing oral drug products to make changes to the labeling with regard to use in adults and children over the age of 2. Now, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen urged the FDA to stop sales of teething products. Methemoglobinemia can cause red blood cells to stop carrying needed oxygen. These gels and creams contain the drug benzocaine that is a local anesthetic gel and can numb the area stopping the pain.

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In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on manufacturers that sell products with benzocaine in them: Not only did the agency issue its strongest warning to consumers that teething products containing benzocaine can be unsafe to babies and children, but it also said that they should no longer be sold or marketed for relieving teething pain in young children.

Over-the-counter medicines that contain benzocaine include the brand names Anbesol, Baby Orajel, Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Hurricaine, Orabase, Orajel and Topex, as well as store brands and generics, according to the FDA. Rapid heart rate, headache, lightheadedness, difficulty in breathing, sleepiness, pale skin, and blue or gray eyes are some of the symptoms of methemoglobinemia.

The use of benzocaine can lead to methemoglobin in the blood which can lead to death. In the meantime, adverse events related to benzocaine and prescription local anesthetics should be reported to the FDA MedWatch program. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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