Parents, Stop Giving Your Teething Babies Homeopathic Remedies
FDA issues warning against teething products for fear of adverse events
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is once again recommending that parents stop the use of homeopathic teething tabs and gels over concerns of adverse events, including seizures, in babies following their use.
The FDA's lab found inconsist ammounts of belladona, "a toxic substance, in certain homepathic teething tablets, sometimes far exceeding the amount claimed on the label." The agency warns that homepathic teething tablets containing belladonna pose an unnecessary risk to infants and children and urgests consumers not to use the products.
The FDA contacted Standard Homeopathic Company, the manufacturer of Hyland's homeopathic teething products, to ask for a recall of its homeopathic teething tablets products labeled as containing belledaonna for protection of the users. So far, the company hasn't agreed to a recall, but the FDA is asking parents to stop using these products.
Homeopathic teething products have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or effectiveness. The agency is unaware of any proven health benefit of the products, which are labeled to relieve teething symptoms in children. InSeptember 2016, the FDA warned against the use of these products after receiving adverse event reports.
Last year, Buzzfeed News reported that the agency had examined more than 400 adverse event reports and 10 deaths connected to homeopathic products in the last six years.
Please seek medical care immediately, if your child experiences seizures, difficulity breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepineess, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating or agitation after using homeopathic teething products.
Homeopathic teething products are labeled to treat the pain or irritability associated with teething, however no study has verified their effectiveness. The FDA has previously recalled teething tabs because they contained an inconsistent amount of belladonna. This is important because even small amounts of belladonna could be toxic, even deadly in a child.
Homeopathic medicines are made by taking a potentially active ingredient, such as belladonna, and diluting it thousands and thousands and thousands of times. For instance, the amount of belladonna in a commercially available teething tab is supposed to be: 0.0000000000002mg of Belladonna alkaloids. If you are thinking, “How could that small amount of anything actually do ANYTHING?” You would be right. Those who prescribe, make or sell homeopathic products claim that despite the dilution, the solution continues to maintain an imprint or memory of the original substance. This statement goes against anything that we know about science (or basic common sense for that matter).
So, why are parents still using them? Because babies get fussy and it’s hard and it causes anxiety and you want to fix it. But, can we be sure that teething actually causes any predictable symptoms? It’s difficult to say. Some studies suggest there might be a day or two of fussiness around the time of tooth eruption, but the idea that babies are fussy for months because of teething has not been found to be true. This is one of many teething myths that are out there.
Treating teething symptoms (even if they are real) probably doesn’t work and many teething treatments can cause dangerous side effects … teething gels with benzocaine can cause your baby to turn blue and amber teething necklaces have no plausible explanation for how they might work and could post a strangulation or choking risk. Even treating with acetaminophen or ibuprofen is not risk free.
If you have given teething tabs and notice any side effects such as those mentioned by the FDA report, call your pediatrician immediately. Watch for seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating or agitation.
If you suspect your baby has teething pain, allow them to chew on their hand or on hard objects for comfort.
No other treatment is required.
About the author
Justin Smith is a pediatrician and the Medical Advisor for Digital Health for Cook Children's in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has an active community on both Facebook and Twitter as @TheDocSmitty and writes weekly for Cook Children's checkupnewsroom.com. His interest in communications started when he realized that his parents were relying more on the internet for medical information. He believes that strategic use of social media and technology by pediatricians to connect with families can deepen their relationship and provide a new level of convenience for both of their busy lifestyles. Dr. Smith’s innovative pediatric clinic, a pediatric clinic “designed by you,” is set to open in Trophy Club in the fall of 2016.