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FDA issues warning for teething products containing benzocaine

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Posted at 2:08 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 16:23:24-04

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers of an over-the-counter teething product that can put infants at risk.

The over-the-counter pain reliever, Benzocaine, is for temporary relief of sore gums due to teething, and should no longer be marketed, according to a press release from the agency. The FDA is asking companies to stop selling these products due such use, and will "initiate a regulatory action" to remove these products from the market if companies do not comply.

According to the FDA, Benzocaine can cause a condition called methemoglobinemia, where the amount of oxygen carried through the blood is reduced. This can be life-threatening and result in death.

Benzocaine is marketed to help relieve pain from a variety of conditions such as teething, sore throat, canker sores and irritation of the mouth and gums. The products are sold as gels, sprays, ointments, solutions and lozenges under the OTC brand names Anbesol, Baby Orajel, Cepacol, Chloraseptic, Hurricaine, Orabase, Orajel and Topex, as well as store brands and generics. 

The FDA is also requesting that companies add new warnings to all other benzocaine oral health products to describe certain serious risks.

Read the FDA statement in its entirety here.