FDA Slams Teething Medicines As Unsafe in Latest Consumer Public Health Push

Posted May 25, 2018

Benzocaine is found in gels, sprays and lozenges for teething, canker sores, sore throats and toothaches, for both adults and children.

The FDA said it will take legal action against companies that don't voluntarily remove their products for young children.

The FDA added that the agency has been warning against using OTC teething medications for the last decade, however infant deaths linked to benzocaine continue to be reported. In a Drug Safety Communication issued today, the agency builds on its previous warnings about risks associated with benzocaine products for methemoglobinemia.

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Benzocaine can cause a rare blood condition associated with breathing problems that may lead to death, as the pain-relieving ingredient interferes with an oxygen-carrying protein in the blood.

Also make sure the teething ring is not frozen because if the object is too hard it can hurt your child's gums. Symptoms include shortness of breath, headache and rapid heart rate. The FDA has urged the makers of such remedies to stop the sales of such products. "Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush", the AAPD website stated.

Do Teething Babies Need Medicine on Their Gums? In that statement, the FDA said it planned to monitor benzocaine products, and would update advisories as needed.

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In response to the FDA's warning, Church and Dwight Co.

Now they want these products completely off the market. At present the package of Baby Orajel says, "Instant relief for teething pain". Signs and symptoms may occur after using benzocaine for the first time, or after prior uses and may appear within minutes to 1 to 2 hours after using benzocaine. The latest target? Children's gel teething products that contain the painkiller benzocaine.

For parents looking to relieve teething pain in their infants, the FDA referred to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb also noted that benzocaine, which is an anesthetic, can pose a safety risk when used on children.

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Those concerned by the warning are advised to check if benzocaine is an active ingredient in products, and keep an eye out for symptoms of methemoglobinemia if they are used.