FDA cautions parents about teething medications

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. The Food and Drug Administration is investigating ten children’s deaths that may be linked to teething medications. The administration says homeopathic teething tablets and gels can be harmful to infants and children, and the FDA recently released a warning, urging parents to get rid of the products if they’re using them for children’s pain relief.
The warning reads, in part, “Consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels.”
The FDA names CVS and Hyland’s as the main manufacturers of the homeopathic tablets and gels. The products have been around for decades, but they contain a small amount of an ingredient called Belladonna. According to the FDA, Belladonna is an extremely toxic plant that has been used in both poisons and medicines over the years.
However, some parents say the teething tablets are the only thing that relieved their baby’s pain.
“He’s always teething, he pops out two or three teeth at a time and it’s very difficult with him to find things that work,” said Amber Hutchison, who has a nine-month-old son, Isaiah.
“I have been told to just give him Tylenol. You want me to give him Tylenol every day? I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she explained.
The mother of two says she’s used the tablets to help her kids get through the teething stage.
“Well, for me, they’ve been a Godsend,” she said.
The FDA doesn’t recommend using any medication to soothe teething pain. Instead, the administration’s recommendation for parents is to rub the gums with their finger or give the baby something clean and cool to chew on, like a washcloth. That’s supposed to dull the nerves and relieve the pain.
“I take it all with a grain of salt,” Hutchison said.
Hutchison says her kids have never suffered any negative side effects from the tablets, but the warning caught her attention.
“Honestly never even given it more than twice a day, but I mean, if some kids have gotten sick, it is a reason to think twice about buying them,” she says.
But parents will have trouble finding them at a pharmacy. Both CVS and Walgreens have announced that they will no longer carry homeopathic teething supplements. Several smaller pharmacies in Springfield told KSPR News they stopped carrying them as well.
Hyland’s recently announced that it’s ending distribution of its teething products in the US.
The company published a statement on its website that reads, in part, “It is therefore with much sadness that we share with you that we have chosen to discontinue the distribution of our Hyland’s teething medicines in the United States. This decision was made in light of the recent warning issued by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels. This warning has created confusion among parents and limited access to the medicines.”
The FDA also recommends that parents avoid local anesthetics such as lidocaine or benzocaine (such as Baby Orajel), except under the advice and supervision of a doctor