Teething gels pose 'serious risk' to babies, FDA warns

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A Virginia mother used a pea sized amount of a teething pain reliever that contained benzocaine.

If your child is experiencing pain while teething, Logan recommends teething rings that are chilled but not frozen. You repeat all of the above in what seems like an endless loop of desperation as you attempt to soothe your very uncomfortable little one.

WEDNESDAY, May 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) - Consumers should stop using over-the-counter teething products that contain benzocaine because they pose a serious health threat to infants and young children, USA health officials warned Wednesday.

"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.

So what's a desperate parent to do?

The agency has warned parents about certain teething products in the past. Inc., which makes Orajel, said it was pulling four Orajel teething products, CBS reported. Methemoglobinemia is a condition caused by elevated levels of methemoglobin in the blood.

Benzocaine can cause a rare blood condition associated with breathing problems that may lead to death, as the pain-relieving ingredient interferes with an oxygen-carrying protein in the blood.

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Signs and symptoms of methemoglobinemia include pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds; dyspnea; fatigue; confusion; headache; lightheadedness; and tachycardia.

The FDA's warning is an update to a statement the regulatory agency made seven years ago.

Benzocaine gels and liquids are sold OTC under different brand names such as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, Orabase, and store brands. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

These new directives may have parents wondering - what are they supposed to do with a teething baby?

Dr. Lisa Thebner, a New York-based pediatrician, said parents still ask about the products with some frequency.

"Here you have a product that doesn't really help and can induce harm", says Meeks.

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