Teething baby? Avoid benzocaine, FDA says

July 29, 2012
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.

Explore further: Little evidence that insect bite remedies work

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


Related Stories

Little evidence that insect bite remedies work

April 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 ...

Recommended for you

Researchers identify drug that alleviates opioid withdrawal

January 30, 2017

Opioid use and abuse is a significant social, health and economic issue in Canada. Researchers at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) and Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) have discovered that ...

Detecting counterfeit medicines

January 27, 2017

Bernard Naughton and Dr David Brindley from Oxford University's Saïd Business School and Medical Sciences Division discuss the problems of identifying fake, substandard and expired medicines.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.