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FDA: Teething Remedies Can Have Deadly Side Effects

It wants the products taken off shelves
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2018 1:44 AM CDT
Orajel is displayed for sale in a pharmacy in New York Wednesday, May 23, 2018.   (AP Photo/Stephanie Nano)
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(Newser) – Federal health officials warned parents Wednesday about the dangers of teething remedies that contain a popular numbing ingredient and asked manufacturers to stop selling their products intended for babies and toddlers. The Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger, the AP reports. The agency has been warning about the products for a decade but said reports of illnesses and deaths have continued. Now, it wants teething products off the market, noting there is little evidence they actually work. Benzocaine can cause a rare blood condition linked to potentially deadly breathing problems and has been linked to four deaths between 2009 and 2017.

"We urge parents, caregivers, and retailers who sell them to heed our warnings and not use over-the-counter products containing benzocaine for teething pain," said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement. One major manufacturer, Church and Dwight Co. Inc., said Wednesday it would discontinue its four Orajel teething brands, including Baby Orajel and Orajel Medicated Teething Swabs. The FDA says it will take legal action against other companies that don't voluntarily comply as soon as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend teething creams because they usually wash out of the baby's mouth within minutes. Instead, the group recommends giving babies teething rings or simply massaging their gums to relieve pain.

(Read more FDA stories.)

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