The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against homeopathic teething tablets and gels, recommending that consumers cease letting infants and children use the products because they pose health risks.
Homeopathic teething tablets and gels are readily available online and in retail stores but have not been proven to offer any health benefits, said the agency.
"Teething can be managed without prescription or over-the-counter remedies," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director of the FDA.
Reports of adverse effects after use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels are being investigated by the FDA and more information will be provided to the public once available.
Parents and guardians are advised to seek medical attention immediately if a child experiences agitation, difficulty urinating, constipation, skin flushing, muscle weakness, excessive sleepiness, lethargy, difficulty breathing or seizures after using a homeopathic teething tablet or gel.
Additionally, they are urged to report adverse effects or quality problems encountered via the agency's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.
In 2010, the FDA already issued a consumer safety alert against homeopathic teething tablets, particularly identifying Hyland's Teething Tablets as posing health risks to children because of its belladonna content. After a consultation with the agency, Standard Homeopathic Company, the product's manufacturer, voluntarily recalled the teething tablets from the market.
In the United States, a National Health Interview Survey in 2012 estimated that a million children used homeopathic treatments in the previous year, resulting in billions in out-of-pocket costs for related medications and millions in visits to homeopathy practitioners.
However, a report from the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia showed homeopathy is a placebo at best when researchers tested the practice and found that it is effective in zero of the 68 illnesses they assessed it on.
Paul Glasziou, who led the NHMRC research, even went on to dub homeopathy as a "therapeutic dead-end." He was also particularly shocked that the practice is being recommended as a treatment for infections like malaria or AIDS. Some are even promoting homeopathy as a treatment for Ebola.
According to him, homeopathy is not only dubious but it also endangers patients more when they delay or outright reject other proven treatments.
A kind of complementary and alternative medicine derived from substances from minerals, plants and animals, homeopathy was started by Samuel Hahnemann in Germany more than 200 years ago. It is guided by two beliefs: "like cures like," which states that a certain health condition can be addressed by substances that produce similar symptoms, and the "law of minimum dose," which follows the idea that the lower a drug dose is, the more effective it will be.
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