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Teething painkiller: FDA warning on teething medication for all parents to heed

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No one wants to see their baby in pain from teething, but it is a part of a baby’s development that experts today say it is best to just let it run its course. The FDA has issued warnings on teething painkillers for babies as serious injuries and deaths have been reported, according to MSN Healthy Living on June 26.

Gum-numbing agents known as viscous lidocaine or benzocaine-containing teething products should not be used on children for teething unless under the care of a health professional. The viscous lidocaine is a local anesthetic that requires a prescription, according to an article on FDA.gov this week.

This gel-like syrup is often prescribed to treat mouth ulcers. This is sometimes used for people who are undergoing chemotherapy who get mouth ulcers as a side effect of the treatment. Parents who have this in the house have been tempted to use it on a baby having a tough time teething, but think again.

This drug is so powerful it is easy for a baby to overdose on it. The numbing agent can make it difficult for the baby to swallow or breathe. This is not a medication to be used on children unless under the direction of a medical professional.

The FDA has received 22 reports of serious incidents in kids under three and a half, which includes some reports of deaths, when viscous lidocaine was used. This has prompted this serious warning to go out to parents and children's caregivers.

As for the over-the-counter teething medications that contain benzocaine, like Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase, none of these teething medications should be used on a child under two-years of age, unless instructed by your medical professional. This is because a rare disorder is associated with the use of benzocaine.

Benzocaine products used for the mouth and to rub on the gums as a pain reliever can cause a serious and potentially fatal condition. This condition, called methemoglobinemia disorder, restricts the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream. The FDA warns that children under 2 are particularly at risk for this rare condition.

The FDA does not recommend any sort of drug or herbal remedy for teething babies and children. A clean wet cool washcloth to chew on, massage the gums with your fingers or use a cool teething ring if the child is having trouble with teething, suggests Dr. Hari Cheryl Sachs, who is a pediatrician with the FDA.

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