FDA Warns Against OTC Teething Products with Benzocaine

M.A., Health Writer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned—again—that parents, caregivers, and child care providers for children 2 and younger should avoid over-the-counter (OTC) teething pain-relief products containing benzocaine, a local anesthetic and numbing agent. The agency also said the products don't stop oral pain from teething, sore throat, canker sores, and mouth and gum irritation, and that they wash out of baby's mouth quickly.

The FDA cited risk of a condition called methemoglobinema, which results in higher levels in the blood of methemoglobin, a form of hemoglobin. With methemoglobinemia, the hemoglobin does carry oxygen but can't release it effectively into the body's tissues, causing breathing problems that can be fatal.

Popular products include Anbesol, Baby Orajel, Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Hurricaine, Orabase, Orajel and Topex, said FDA. In January 2017, the agency warned parents not to use some homeopathic teething tablets that may contain belladonna, a toxin. The agency urges parents to follow recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to ease baby's discomfort.

Sourced from: FDA