Some babies have little to no symptoms during teething, while others experience quite a bit of pain for months. When teething pain occurs, infants may cry and be irritable until they find relief.
Homeopathic tablets and gels aimed at helping soothe babies’ pain may be dangerous for infants and toddlers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced in a statement.
The FDA is investigating reports of seizures in infants and small children who were given homeopathic teething products, which may contain "natural" compounds but are not regulated as drugs by the FDA.
In addition, the FDA said in the statement that "consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating or agitation" after using homeopathic teething tablets and gels.
According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrated Health, homeopathy relies on two theories: “like cures like”—the notion that a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people; and “law of minimum dose”—the notion that the lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness.
The FDA said in the statement that the agency is not aware of any proven health benefit of using homeopathic teething tablets and gels.
In 2010, the FDA issued a safety alert about a homeopathic teething tablet that contained belladonna. Belladonna — also called deadly nightshade — is a poisonous plant that contains a chemical called atropine. At high levels, atropine can be deadly. In homeopathy, it is used to treat redness and inflammation.
At the time, the FDA found that the teething tablets contained inconsistent amounts of belladonna. The company that made the tablets, Hyland, subsequently recalled the product.
Hyland issued a statement and video in response to the current FDA warning against the use of homeopathic teething remedies.
"As you may have seen, on September 30, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration issued a surprise statement recommending that consumers discontinue use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels because they may pose a risk," Hyland's stated. "We are fully cooperating with FDA’s inquiry and we’re providing them with all the data we have. We also hope to learn from FDA what facts, if any, the Agency has based its action on."
Hyland also noted “The safety and effectiveness of Hyland’s natural homeopathic medicines is our top priority. That’s why we work with regulators to ensure that our products meet the highest standards. If we ever had reason to be concerned of that safety, we would act immediately."
"Teething can be managed without prescription or over-the-counter remedies," Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the FDA statement.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends teething rings or hard, unsweetened teething crackers. Do not use frozen teething toys because they can cause more discomfort by injuring a baby's mouth, the AAP advises.
Be sure and check with your pediatrician about teething pain relief if your little one is having a hard time getting through the teething process.
Story sources: Sara G. Miller, http://www.livescience.com/56352-fda-warning-homeopathic-teething-tablets.html
Michael Johnsen, http://www.drugstorenews.com/article/hylands-responds-fda-teething-tablet-warning