Whether as a post on Facebook or by word of mouth from a friend, many people have heard about the dangers of teething medications. Some of the ill claims are regarding homeopathic remedies while others involve topical applications containing a powerful numbing agent known as benzocaine.
Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Gel
Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Gel, sold over the counter at all major drug and department stores, was in fact recalled by the FDA back in 2010 for containing high levels of a natural ingredient known as belladonna to some and deadly nightshade to others. Parents and caregivers had reported adverse reactions such as seizures and brain bleeds. The ingredient has a sedating effect and although it is quite harmless in small doses, it can cause serious adverse effects in higher amounts. The FDA’s research proved that the amount of belladonna in Hyland’s products was inconsistent and thereby asked the manufacturer to recall all of its products. Hyland complied and re-released the tablets and gel nine months later claiming that the levels of belladonna in the medication were properly controlled. According to Snopes.com, a popular internet site for providing authoritative information regarding myths, urban legends, and trending concerns, no more reports of adverse reactions have surfaced and the new products have been deemed safe by the FDA.
Baby Orajel and Baby Anbesol
Baby Orajel and Baby Anbesol, two readily-available over the counter products that are designed to combat teething pain in infants, contain a medication known as benzocaine which produces a numbing effect when it is applied topically. Again, according to the FDA and reported by WebMD, this ingredient has been linked to a rare but serious disorder that is called methemoglobinemia. In layman’s terms, benzocaine can produce a syndrome in which the amount of oxygen traveling through the bloodstream is greatly reduced. What’s more, the FDA goes on to state that the majority of cases were in children under two years of age who were administered the medications to combat teething pain. While the condition is so rare that the FDA allows these manufacturers to continue to sell products specifically for infants, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents provide chilled, clean washcloths or teething rings instead of these potent medications.
In a nutshell, while the dangers of teething medications are rare, they still exist. There are plenty of other great ways to reduce a baby’s discomfort, such as providing safe items for chewing and administering infant Tylenol or Motrin under the supervision of a pediatrician.