Teething baby? Avoid benzocaine, FDA says

Teething baby? avoid  benzocaine, FDA says
This over-the-counter anesthetic can lead to a deadly condition in children.

(HealthDay) -- Parents should not use benzocaine products to relieve teething pain in babies except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says.

Benzocaine is a found in over-the-counter products such as Anbesol, Orajel, Baby Orajel, Orabase and Hurricane.

The use of benzocaine gels and liquids to relieve gum and mouth pain can lead to a rare but potentially deadly condition called methemoglobinemia, in which the amount of oxygen carried through the is greatly reduced. Children under 2 years old are at particular risk for the condition, the FDA said in a news release.

The agency first warned about the potential dangers of benzocaine in 2006 and has since received 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia. Nineteen of those cases occurred in children, 15 of them under 2 years of age.

The FDA also noted that parents may have difficulty recognizing the symptoms of methemoglobinemia, which include: pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips and nail beds; ; fatigue; confusion; headache; light-headedness and .

Symptoms can occur within minutes to hours after benzocaine use, and after using the drug for the first time or after several uses. Parents should immediately call 911 (or the local emergency number outside the United States) if a child has symptoms of methemoglobinemia after being given benzocaine, the FDA said in the news release.

Instead of using benzocaine to ease teething pain, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents give a child a teething ring chilled in the refrigerator, or use a finger to gently rub or massage the child's gums.

More information: The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about teething.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists model the pathways of pain-blocking meds

Sep 26, 2011

Benzocaine, a commonly used local anesthetic, may more easily wiggle into a cell's membrane when the membrane is made up of compounds that carry a negative charge, a new study shows. The finding could help scientists piece ...

Little evidence that insect bite remedies work

Apr 11, 2012

There is little evidence that over the counter remedies for simple insect bites actually work, and in most cases, no treatment at all will suffice, concludes an evidence review in the April Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB). ...

FDA panel backs infant doses for kids' Tylenol

May 18, 2011

(AP) -- Federal health experts say dosing instructions for children younger than 2 years old should be added to Children's Tylenol and similar products containing acetaminophen, the popular pain reliever and fever reducer.

Recommended for you

Discount generic drug programs grow over time

2 hours ago

Generic discount drug programs (GDDPs, which charge nominal fees to fill prescriptions) have grown over time and their initial lower use by racial/ethnic minorities has evaporated, writes author Song Hee Hong, Ph.D., of the ...

Seniors successfully withdraw from meds

Sep 19, 2014

Elderly people have proved receptive to being de-prescribed medications, as part of a trial aimed at assessing the feasibility of withdrawal of medications among older people.

User comments