FDA warns teething medicines are unsafe, wants them off shelves

Adjust Comment Print

You swing, rock and walk with your baby for what seems like hours. Instead, the academy suggests trying teething rings made of firm rubber or massaging a child's gums.

Check your teething relief product labels to see if benzocaine is an active ingredient.

Benzocaine-containing products sold over the counter to relieve babies' teething pain are too risky and should no longer be sold, the FDA said Wednesday.

The Federal Drug Administration says the drug benzocaine is in some gels sold to help infants and toddlers with teething.

The FDA is also requiring manufacturers of all prescription local anesthetics to standardize warning information about the risk of methemoglobinemia in product labeling across this class of products.

So what's a desperate parent to do?

The food you may want to eat if you're trying to get pregnant and why some teething products are unsafe for children.

Teething products with benzocaine include Baby Orajel.

Manufacturers in the US will have 30 days to update the product labels and "if companies do not comply, the FDA will initiate a regulatory action to remove these products from the market", the release states.

Benzocaine can trigger methemoglobinemia, a condition caused by elevated levels of a form of hemoglobin called methemoglobin.

"Benzocaine, a local anesthetic, can cause a condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is greatly reduced", FDA officials wrote in a drug safety update. The OTC benzocaine products should only be used sparingly in adults, and children 2 years and older and not more than four times a day.

While benzocaine is used in many over-the-counter products from brands such as Orajel, Anbesol, Orabase, Hurricaine and Topex, the FDA says it provides "little to no benefits for treating oral pain".

New Jersey-based manufacturer Church and Dwight Co. Symptoms include rapid heart rate, headache, sleepiness, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, skin that is pale and nails that is blue or gray.

The child can start showing symptoms of methemoglobinemia in few minutes after using these products. In 2011, the agency warned consumers about the methemoglobinemia potential of the products. Also, they are not of that much effect, because they can be washed out of the mouth very quickly.