The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned parents not to use the common over-the-counter products that contain benzocaine agent for teething purposes. The benzocaine may pose serious health risks to infants and toddlers. Benzocaine is a topical anesthetic used in teething ointments, gels, lozenges and sprays. The topical anesthetic can cause serious medical condition called methemoglobinemia, which can become fatal. Methemoglobinemia can cause red blood cells to stop carrying needed oxygen.
The FDA Wants Teething Products Made with Benzocaine Pulled from the Market
Some brands that have benzocaine includes brands like Baby Orajel, Anbesol and Topex. The agent is also found in generic teething products. The FDA is now urging companies to stop selling these benzocaine-containing products voluntarily. If this doesn’t happen, the agency may use regulatory action to take the products off the market.
In a press release, the FDA claimed it was committed to protecting Americans from serious risks connected to certain products. The over-the-counter benzocaine products is a sample of a product that poses a serious safety risk with not apparent demonstrated benefit.
The FDA Announcement Comes Months after a Mom’s Scary Experience with a Benzocaine Product
A Virginia mother used a pea sized amount of a teething pain reliever that contained benzocaine. Her daughter, a 15-month-old, was unresponsive within seconds. The mother said her daughter instantly stopped breathing and turned blue. The daughter did regain consciousness.
Teething Typically Starts at About Six Months of Age
Tears, drooling and crankiness. These are some symptoms associated with teething. Many parents look to over-the-counter products stop these symptoms while their children’s teeth erupt from their gums. Instead of using over-the-counter products, parents can help their children cope with teething symptoms.
For instance, rub the child’s gums with a moistened gauze pad. The pressure eases the baby’s discomfort. Another thing to try is hard foods. If a child is eating solid foods, they may be able to gnaw on a peeled carrot of chilled cucumber. However, it is important to watch the child because pieces of the solid food could break off and pose a choking hazard.
FDA Claims the Benzocaine Agent Offers No Health Benefits
The FDA claimed the teething products with benzocaine has no health benefits because it must be removed immediately from the mouth. However, it did not suggest any over-the-counter teething products that can be used instead of the ones with the benzocaine agent. Parents should contact their children’s doctor for more ways to help their children through the teething process.