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.
Stephanie Stephens is a digital journalist, host and producer focused on health and lifestyle. Steph does audio and video and has shot a TV pilot for the powerful age 45+ demo. She’s an accomplished red carpet host, having interviewed more than 250 celebrities. When she’s not working (when is that?), she’s working out doing HIIT, strength training, yoga or running. Steph is very involved in humane causes in Southern California and is owned by seven cats. Join her on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+.