Avoid Baby Orajel for Teething Pain

On April 7th, 2011, The Federal Drug administration sent out a warning to all doctors, pharmacists and consumers "that the FDA continues to receive reports of methemoglobinemia, a serious and potentially fatal adverse effect, associated with benzocaine products both as a spray, used during medical procedures to numb the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, and benzocaine gels and liquids sold over-the-counter and used to relieve pain from a variety of conditions, such as teething, canker sores, and irritation of the mouth and gums.

When a baby is crying in pain from teething a parent wants desperately to help alleviate the discomfort.  In the past many of these parents reached for a "teething" solution such as Baby Orajel or Baby Anbesol.  But reports show that isn't the wisest thing to do.  Back in 2006 the FDA issued a Public Safety Advisory warning about methemoglobinemia with the use of benzocaine sprays during medical procedures. Since then, FDA has received 72 new cases of methemoglobinemia, including three resulting in death.  This brings the total of deaths reported since 2006 to 319. A search of the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System shows 21 cases of methemoglobinemia associated with the use of OTC benzocaine gel or liquid products in the first quarter of 2011.  This search might indicate that the FDA is not adequately educating users of this product.  The highest percent of adverse reactions is in newborn to age 2 and in the elderly. Methemoglobinemia is a serious condition in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced. In the most severe cases, methemoglobinemia can result in death.  It is tricky to determine if a person is going to react to the product containing the benzocaine because the symptoms can appear within minutes to hours of applying benzocaine and may occur with the first application of benzocaine or after additional use.  In many cases, methemoglobinemia was reported following the administration of  just a single benzocaine spray.  Methemoglobinemia has been reported with all strengths of benzocaine gels and liquids so the instructions should be adhered to precisely, if you do decide to use a product. What are the symptoms of methemoglobinemia and what should you watch for if preparing to use a product that contains benzocaine?  Some common signs and symptoms are pale, gray or blue colored skin, lips, and nail beds; headache; light-headedness; shortness of breath; fatigue; and rapid heart rate. For a fairly comprehensive list of products containing benzocaine that are potentially dangerous go to scroll down about half way. Natural homeopathic pain relief for your child's teething, can safely and effectively manage teething pain without subjecting your child to risk from these products. There are all sorts of homeopathic remedies for the pain of cutting teeth, and they come in several different forms; pills, liquids, gels and even ice pops are some of the options you have. Agate and amber, thought to have properties that relieve teething pain, are sometimes made into teething rings. Homeopathy is an alternative branch of medicine that relies on tiny amounts of substances to effect a cure by stimulating the body's natural immune response. It is safe and holistic, and the amounts of medicine used are extremely dilute. You can find homeopathic remedies in stores, or for more complicated situations or additonal advice, consult Dr. Bennett our naturopath. When babies are teething, they tend to put any new item directly into the mouth. This is partly curiosity and partly an attempt at pain management, infants feel the urge to bite and chew. As the teeth are growing, the cells in the gum tissue above the teeth begin to break down, which helps the teeth push through. The urge to bite or chew is a good thing. Give your child something to chew on! We are here to help, so please call if you need further advice or council in this area.

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