The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers about an over-the-counter teething medication for infants and children under the age of two that could be harmful. The agency says that products containing benzocaine are dangerous and pose a serious risk to infants and children under two.
Benzocaine is used to treat sore gums, sore throats, and mouth irritation in children and infants. It can be found in brands like Orajel, Baby Orajel, Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orabase, and Topex, as well as the store and generic versions.
In their consumer warning, the FDA states that benzocaine shows little benefit for teething and has the potential for deadly side effects. “Benzocaine, a local anesthetic, can cause a condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is greatly reduced. This condition, called methemoglobinemia, can be life-threatening and result in death,” the FDA said.
Because of the risk of methemoglobinemia, the FDA is also calling on companies to cease marketing and selling their benzocaine products for use on children. They’re also requesting that manufacturers add warning labels to communicate the risk to adults who use the product.
Other ways to soothe teething pain
There are much safer ways than numbing gel to soothe your child’s teething pain. Parenting.com offers several tips and tricks for helping your baby (and you) get through this painful time.
- A wet, frozen washcloth (with one end dry for the baby to hold on to). The thick fabric feels good in their mouth and the cold feels good on their gums. You can also chill teething toys in the refrigerator, but don’t put them in the freezer, as frozen toys can be rough on sensitive gums.
- If the tooth hasn’t erupted from the gum yet, you can try rubbing the infant’s gum with a clean, bare finger, or one wrapped in a washcloth.
- OTC pain relievers are also good for pain relief, like baby acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Always follow instructions exactly as stated on the label.
- Sometimes you can take your child’s mind off the pain by distracting them with a new toy or even some extra attention or cuddling. Anything to get them from focusing on their mouth.
- Don’t give your infant hard or frozen foods to gnaw on when they’re teething. They may appeal to the baby’s urge to chew, but these foods can start to fall apart in the baby’s mouth and become a choking hazard.
- Also, this is very “old school,” but don’t rub brandy on a baby’s swollen gums. Even tiny amounts of alcohol can be toxic to an infant.
The dangerous drug attorneys at McGowan, Hood, Felder & Phillips, LLC fight companies and manufacturers who put hazardous medicines on the market. If you or a member of your family suffered injury from benzocaine, talk to our legal team today. We want to help. Get in touch with us at your convenience by calling 803-327-7800 or filling out our contact form and scheduling an appointment.
Randy is the former President of the South Carolina Association for Justice. He has been certified by the American Board of Professional Liability as a specialist in Medical Malpractice Law which is recognized by the South Carolina Bar. Randy has also been awarded the distinction of being a “Super Lawyer” 10 times in the last decade. He has over 25 years of experience helping injured people fight back against corporations, hospitals and wrong-doers.
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