A popular teething remedy should be immediately taken off the shelf and parents should cease using it, the Federal Drug Administration said this week in a strongly worded warning to consumers.
The alert comes as parents continue to buy teething products containing benzocaine, a numbing agent which poses a “serious health risk,” the FDA said in a statement. The agency also put stores that sell the product on notice.
FDA says this popular teething remedy could be deadly for your child
“The agency today [Wednesday, May 23, 2018] announced that OTC [over-the-counter] oral health products containing the pain reliever benzocaine for the temporary relief of sore gums due to teething in infants or children should no longer be marketed and is asking companies to stop selling these products for such use,” the FDA said. “If companies do not comply, the FDA will initiate a regulatory action to remove these products from the market.”
Also, the agency said that it would request that companies selling other benzocaine oral health products add new warnings that fully describe the health risks that are involved.
The use of benzocaine in teething gels has been linked to methemolobinemia, which, although rare, can reduce the amount of oxygen in an infant’s blood stream and even cause death, the FDA said.
Companies have been marketing benzocaine as a pain reliever and remedy to ease a variety of skin irritations, as well as other problems like teething, sore throat, sunburn, hemorrhoids, canker sores and more. It is sold in many forms, including as gels, ointments, sprays, and liquids.
Over-the-counter products with benzocaine in it include Anbesol, Baby Orajel, Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Hurricaine, Orabase, Orajel and Topex, the FDA said. Multiple store and generic brands also contain benzocaine.
So what’s a parent to do? Keep in mind that despite the discomfort, teething is a necessary stage in a child’s development. Still, there are some teething solutions that don’t include medication. Here are a few:
Here are some medication-free teething remedies
- Teething rings and toys. Just make sure they don’t have breakable parts or anything that can be disassembled.
- Mommy blogging site Babble.com says: “There are several edibles that can offer your child the magic relief of cold or pressure (or both). Some good choices: frozen bagels, frozen bananas, giant (really GIANT) chunks of cold carrot or apple. Kids love the vinegary tingle of whole crisp pickles, too. Zwieback crackers and breadsticks are also great for gnawing.”
- The site Raising Natural Kids recommends an assortment of natural teething necklaces and mesh feeders — and even a cold wash cloth.