The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned the people against its lidocaine solution use as a pain reliever for babies who are teething, saying that these local anesthetics can cause serious injuries and deaths in children.
The agency said that teething products containing viscous lidocaine or benzocaine should only be used under a health care professional's supervision and advice. Viscous lidocaine is a gel local anesthetic syrup that requires prescription from the doctor. It is usually used as a mouth ulcer treatment among patients undergoing chemotherapy. Parents may use it to ease the pain of teething babies but the FDA said they shouldn't do so.
Parents and caregivers want to soothe teething babies by applying numbing mediations on their gums with the use of drugs that are potentially harmful than non-toxic alternatives. The FDA reviewed 22 reports of serious reactions in infants and toddlers who were given the drugs to treat pain in the mouth including stomatitis and teething. There were also some who ingested the drug accidentally. There were several deaths in the reports.
"When too much viscous lidocaine is given to infants and young children or they accidentally swallow too much, it can result in seizures, severe brain injury, and problems with the heart. Cases of overdose due to wrong dosing or accidental ingestion have resulted in infants and children being hospitalized or dying," said the FDA.
The agency now requires a warning on the prescribing information and asks doctors not to recommend or prescribe the drug to teething children. It requires that label warning to caution against use in infants and young children for teething pain.
The FDA said the symptoms of overdosing are jitteriness, confusion, seizures, shaking, vision problems, vomiting and falling asleep too easily. Viscous lidocaine can also cause difficulty in swallowing and increase the risk of breathing in food or choking. The solution can result to drug toxicity and even affect the nervous system and heart.
Teething is often blamed wrongly for many things occurring at a time when a baby's life changes a lot. It is blamed for decreased appetite, sleep disturbances, coughing, congestion, diarrhea and vomiting. The FDA advises parents to check the child's gums for swelling and if they are, someone could simply rub or massage the child's gums gently with a finger or give the child a cool teether or wet washcloth to chew on. The parents should be sure that the object is not too cold otherwise it can hurt the child and gums.