FDA: Teething anesthetics could be deadly for children

Health officials warn of teething gel side effects

The FDA has urged the makers of such remedies to stop the sales of such products. It suggests that parents can rub their babies' gums to give them temporary relief. But one thing you should not do is use over-the-counter gum-numbing medications containing benzocaine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine (BEN-zoh-keyn) can cause rare but deadly side-effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger.

"These products carry serious risks and provide little to no benefit for the treatment of oral pain including teething", health officials said in Wednesday's announcement.

"In addition, we also are revising the Drug Facts Label on all over-the-counter oral health care products that contain benzocaine with an intended use other than teething to emphasize that these products should not be used for teething pain or in children under 2 years of age", the statement said.

The FDA expects manufactures to voluntarily remove their products as soon as possible.

On the American Academy of Pediatrics site, HealtyChildren.org, the page on teething babies has a warning that reads, "Stay away from teething tablets that contain the plant poison belladonna and gels with benzocaine". You try every type of chilled teething toy you can get your hands on to relieve the pain in your baby's gums. It can cause lowering of oxygenation in the body and lead to shortness of breath, rapid heart rates and headaches.

Benzocaine is also used in popular over-the-counter products for toothaches and cold sores in adults, including Orajel and Anbesol and generic drugstore brands.

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The FDA is requiring manufacturers of all FDA-approved prescription local anesthetics to standardize warning information about the risk of methemoglobinemia in product labeling across this class of products.

The maker of Orajel said it would discontinue products for infant teething pain.

According to Church and Dwight Co.

And, as always, store all drug products where children can't reach them, the agency said.

The FDA has issued a warning to consumers to avoid using OTC benzocaine teething products due to the risk of methemoglobinemia.

FDA said it is acting now because of mounting evidence on benzocaine's dangers.

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