Teething tablets may cause death in infants: FDA warning
Seemingly harmless medicines like teething tablets have been linked to deaths in infants. Be careful before you medicate your child.
In the last four years, at least 10 deaths and 400 adverse drug reactions have been reported due to the use of homeopathic teething tablets. In the wake of these events, the Food and Drug authority, USA has warned the caregivers about the dangers of using teething tablets, urging them to take the baby to a doctor immediately, at the first signs of distress.
This comes as a blow to many parents who have been using homeopathy medicines for their children to ease the teething process. Though the relationship between the deaths and the medicines has not been established, the FDA has issued a warning nonetheless. The reason behind this might be due to the presence of Belladonna, a plant derived alkaloid that is dangerous in high concentrations.
Belladonna is derived from deadly nightshade, the berries of which can cause hallucinations. Ingestion of even two to three berries might be lethal in children. Of course, the extract is purified in the homeopathic medicines and has been used for many years now. However, high concentrations of the ingredient can cause anticholinergic syndrome and the child may suffer from blurred vision, headaches, hallucinations and even death.
Following the warning, one of the leading manufacturers of teething tablets withdrew the products from the market. Though there is no official recall, the company states that the products are safe, but a parent can consult their doctor if in any doubt.
USFDA has expressed concerns over the presence of Belladonna in the teething tablets and Benzocaine in teething gels. However, no firm link has been found, and the pills are still found in the pharmacies. That said, as a parent, please be careful what you give your child.
How to help your child when he is teething
When you child is teething, certain medicines will help relieve his pain. However, many medicines are not suitable for children and so, please be careful of even the over-the-counter varieties of medicines.
To help your child while teething, you can do the following things
- Use sold teething rings. These do not contain any added medicines and are generally safe for use in children.
- Use edible substitutes. American association of Pediatrics recommends common food items in the stead of these medications. These would include frozen bananas, berries and bagels. You can also cool a clean cloth and massage the gums using it.
- Use mild pain-killers. If you have to medicate, use acetaminophen (paracetamol) after talking to your paediatrician. Use in prescribed doses and for a limited duration. If your baby is still fussy after it, see the doctor.
- Not all ‘natural’ remedies are safe. There are always some herbal remedies that claim to soothe the baby. Please be careful about the use of such remedies. Remember, Deadly Nightshade is a naturally occurring plant, but the berries can be lethal if consumed even in small quantities.
Just be patient throughout the teething process and your baby will be his bouncy self in no time!
Also read: 7 undeniable signs of teething in your baby