The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning parents about the danger that teething medicines may have. Health officials are cautioning parents to be aware of popular teething medicines that contain numbing ingredients.
Officials are also asking manufacturers to stop selling them.
The administration claimed gels and creams containing the drug, benzocaine, can cause deadly side effects in babies. The administration stated that this is true especially for children under the age of 2. Benzocaine is also used in other popular products that treat colds and toothaches, such as Orajel. Benzocaine could cause a rare blood condition connected to potential breathing problems.
Benzocaine can interfere with oxygen-carrying protein and the symptoms of this can include shortness of breath and rapid heart rate.
The FDA claims to have been warning parents about the potential danger of these products for the past 10 years. However, illness and death have still continued. The FDA now wants to eliminate teething products from being distributed as there is little evidence to support that they actually work.
FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, stated that the FDA has warned parents, caregivers, and retailers to be aware of their previous warnings. Gottlieb continued that the FDA has suggested that parents should not use over-the-counter products that contain benzocaine for teething pain.
The FDA is now threatening to sue companies who will not remove these products for babies. The FDA did state that products for adults that contain benzocaine can stay on shelves but should have an updated warning. The FDA has already issued warnings about these products in 2006, 2011, and 2016. The administration reviewed 119 cases of blood disorders that were linked to benzocaine between 2009-2017.
There were four deaths that occurred within this time frame, the FDA claimed.
Some companies have already begun discontinuing selling these products. Church and Dwight Co. Inc, a New Jersey-based manufacturing company, stated that they have four Orajel brands, including Orajel Medicated Teething Swaps.
Infants usually begin to teeth between 4 to 7 months old. Teething is a painful process for infants and symptoms usually include slightly raised temperatures, fussiness, crying, and changes in sleeping patterns. Some natural ways to soothe an infant who is teething include giving the baby something cold, massaging their gums, and a teething necklace.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also warned parents about using teething medicines to soothe their babies. The Academy claimed that using these medicines weren't the best option as most of the medicine would wash out of babies' mouths.