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FDA warns dangers of harmful drug in teething products

The U.S. Drug and Food Administration warned consumers the dangers for infants and children of products that contain Benzocaine.

Benzocaine is marketed to relieve pain from conditions like teething, sore throat, canker sores, and irritation of mouth and gums.

According to the FDA, several products containing this dangerous pain reliever can be bought over the counter.

Benzocaine can cause these symptoms:

  • Discolored (gray and blue) skip, lips, nail beds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Methemoglobinemia

Methemoglobinemia is a condition that elevated levels of methemoglobin in the blood, which can lead to death. It creates blood to have low levels of oxygen.

The FDA is asking companies to remove the products from the market. If they do not comply, there will be regulatory actions done by the agency.

The agency requests that companies that will not delete the ingredient must specifically label that Benzocaine is included and that Methemoglobinemia is a result.

Some products that generally contain Benzocaine are

  • Anbesol
  • Baby Orajel
  • Cepacol
  • Chloraseptic
  • Hurricaine
  • Orabase
  • Orajel
  • Topex

The FDA will continue to monitor Benzocaine products.

"Because of the lack of efficacy for teething and the serious safety concerns we’ve seen with over-the-counter benzocaine oral health products, the FDA is taking steps to stop use of these products in young children and raise awareness of the risks associated with other uses of benzocaine oral health products. In addition to our letters to companies who make these products, 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, M.D.

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