Published: Fri, May 25, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Teething medicines unsafe, FDA warns parents

Teething medicines unsafe, FDA warns parents

The Food and Drug administration says teething should not be treated with homeopathic remedies or over the counter medications rubbed on the gums.

The FDA has ordered companies to stop selling teething products containing benzocaine, and said it will take action against those who refuse to comply.

Parents might use these products to temporarily relieve a child's teething pain, but the agency said they pose a "serious risk" to infants and children and often are not effective, since they can wash out of the mouth quickly.

Benzocaine is associated with a unsafe health condition called methemoglobinemia, that results in decreased oxygen in the blood - and that could lead to death. These products may remain on the shelves for adults say the FDA. More than 400 cases have been reported to the FDA or appear in the medical literature, the agency said in a data summary. Instead, the academy suggests trying teething rings made of firm rubber or massaging a child's gums.

Pharmacists should educate parents to avoid using benzocaine, and other local anesthetics to treat teething pain in infants and children.

"These products carry serious risks and provide little to no benefit for the treatment of oral pain including teething", health officials said in Wednesday's announcement.

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Federal officials are warning parents about the potential dangers of teething medicines. Between 2009 and 2017 there have been 119 cases of the rare blood disorder associated with benzocaine including deaths of four babies associated with the use of benzocaine.

Benzocaine is marketed as a way to ease the pain of a variety of oral health problems, including teething, sore throat, canker sores, and irritation of the mouth and gums.

Renee venable is concerned after using oragel, a product that contains a numbing agent called benzocaine. Signs of methemoglobinemia include shortness of breath, fatigue, and pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips and nail beds.

Some brands that have benzocaine includes brands like Baby Orajel, Anbesol and Topex.

Symptoms of methemoglobinemia may begin within minutes and up to two hours after the first use of benzocaine. Manufacturers of approved, prescription local anesthetics will have 30 days to reply to the FDA's letter regarding these new Safety Labeling Changes.

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