Teething Gels Linked to Rare but Serious Illness




NOTE: This advisory is just short of a product recall. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning regarding the usage of teething gels that contain benzocaine.

The active ingredient is in brand name oral-numbing gels like Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase.

Benzocaine has been linked to methemoglobinemia, a rare but serious health condition where oxygen is reduced in the blood and can cause permanent brain injury.  In more severe cases, the condition can result in death.

Here are some of the dangerous warning signs and symptoms of methemoglobinemia:

pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips and nail beds
shortness of breath
fatigue
confusion
headache
light-headedness
rapid heart rate

There have been 29 people that have reported illnesses as a result of using products containing benzocaine since 2006, according to the FDA.

Children under 2 years old appear to be most at risk.

The FDA provided the following alternatives to oral gels and liquids that relieve teething pain from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

- Give your child a teething ring chilled in the refrigerator.

- Gently rub or massage your child’s gums with your finger.

-If these remedies do not provide relief, contact your pediatrician for advice on other treatments.

Information Credit: Newstaar