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FDA Warning: Benzocaine in OTC Teething Meds May be Dangerous

The FDA is warning consumers that the use of benzocaine-containing teething medications may lead to a life-threatening condition known as methemoglobinemia, which severely restricts the amount of oxygen carried through the bloodstream. Babies who develop methemoglobinemia may become pale or gray, become short of breath, feel fatigued, confused, and lightheaded. Consumers are advised to discontinue the use of benzocaine products in children and seek immediate medical attention if symptoms appear.

Free Teething Medication Case Evaluation: If your child or other loved one has been diagnosed with methemoglobinemia after being treated with teething medication containing benzocaine, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit and we can help.

Update: Teething Tablets linked to 10 Children’s Deaths, Hundreds of Injuries

October 13, 2016 – At least 400 adverse event reports — including the deaths of 10 children — have been linked to the use of homeopathic teething tablets, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The agency warned caregivers to stop using the products and to take their child to a doctor immediately if he or she experiences problems.

What’s the problem?

May 5, 2011 – This week, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) published a warning about the potential risks of using teething medications containing benzocaine on very young children. In recent studies, benzocaine has been linked to a condition known as methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of hemoglobin – the oxygen carrying molecule found in red blood cells – builds up in the blood. In some cases of methemoglobinemia, the condition can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms usually appear minutes to hours after ingestion and include:

  • bluish coloring of the skin (cyanosis)
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • lack of energy

According to the FDA, methemoglobinemia has been reported with all strengths of benzocaine-containing products, and most cases occur in children aged two or younger. Unfortunately, labels of benzocaine products do not currently contain warnings about the risk of methemoglobinemia. Adults are advised to seek immediate medical attention if symptoms appear in children.

Which Teething Medications Contain Benzocaine?

Benzocaine products used to treat teething pain and canker sores are sold under the following brand names:

  • Anbesol
  • Hurricane
  • Orajel
  • Baby Orajel
  • Orabase
  • numerous store brands

In place of teething meds, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving children with teething problems a teething ring that has been chilled in a refrigerator, or gently rubbing the child’s gums with a finger. If benzocaine products are used, it is important to keep in mind that side effects can occur after a single dose. The FDA recommends using benzocaine gels and liquids only when needed, and not more than four times a day.

Do I have a Benzocaine Lawsuit?

The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in benzocaine lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new methemoglobinemia cases in all 50 states.

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