Sat. Aug 24th, 2019

Teething Baby? Avoid Benzocaine, FDA Says

2 min read

SUNDAY, July 29 (HealthDay News) — 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 local anesthetic 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  bloodstream 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; shortness of breath; fatigue; confusion;  headache; light-headedness and rapid heart rate.

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

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