FDA warns teething meds unsafe due to numbing drug

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Church & Dwight Co., which sells and markets Orajel products for teething, said in a statement that the safety of its customers and their children is its highest priority, and it is immediately discontinuing the distribution and sale of Orajel teething products containing benzocaine.

Various gels containing the numbing drug benzocaine can cause rare, but potentially fatal side effects in children, especially those younger than 2, according to The Associated Press.

If your child is experiencing pain while teething, Logan recommends teething rings that are chilled but not frozen. Rapid heart rate, headache, lightheadedness, difficulty in breathing, sleepiness, pale skin, and blue or gray eyes are some of the symptoms of methemoglobinemia.

The problem is the anesthetic ingredient benzocaine (ben'-zo-cane).

If lidocaine is used, healthcare staff should be familiar with appropriate dosing, proper administration techniques, and safety monitoring; benzocaine sprays are not FDA-approved to numb mucous membranes of the mouth and throat or to suppress the gag reflex during medical procedures.

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Manufacturers in the US will have 30 days to update the product labels and "if companies do not comply, the FDA will initiate a regulatory action to remove these products from the market", the release states.

Revising the directions to direct parents and caregivers not to use the product in infants and children younger than 2 years.

Benzocaine, a local anesthetic agent is also found in over-the-counter products that are used for mouth sores, mouth ulcers, toothaches, cold sores etc. Instead of using over-the-counter products, parents can help their children cope with teething symptoms. They are sold as brands Orajel and Anbesol for adults. In 2011, the agency warned consumers about the methemoglobinemia potential of the products.

The agency sent letters to multiple manufacturers producing such pain-relief products, asking them to no longer market them and cease selling them "for such use".

Those cute little pearly whites that you see when babies smile are absolutely adorable, but teething is no picnic for babies - or their parents. These can develop in minutes or up to two hours after using the drug.

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