FDA Warns Against Homeopathic Teething Gels & Tablets: What You Need to Know

There are now 400 reports of adverse side effects—including 10 deaths—associated with these products, according to the FDA.
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New information has been revealed in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's investigation into homeopathic teething tablets and gels. The latest findings show more than 400 reports of adverse affects associated with these products in the last six years, including fever, seizures and death—and even more heartbreaking, the agency has reports of 10 deaths during the same time period that also reference homeopathic teething tablets.

The FDA warned consumers against using homeopthic teething medicines two weeks ago, citing a potential risk to infant and children's health. Immediately after that announcement, CVS voluntarily withdrew all brands of the products—including Baby Orajel Naturals, Hyland's, and its own store-brand homeopathic teething tablets and liquids—sold in its stores and online.

On Tuesday, Hyland's, a major manufacturer of homeopathic teething products, announced it is actually discontinuing U.S. distribution of its teething products. "This decision was made in light of the recent warning issued by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels," according to a statement on the company's website.

Homeopathic teething tablets and gels have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or efficacy—and the agency hasn't released names of specific products which may be related to these adverse affects. But the agency's investigation is still underway, and it will continue to inform the public as more information becomes available.

If you have any homeopathic teething products in your house, the agency recommends that you stop using these products and throw them away.

So what's a parent to do if they've got a teething baby on their hands?

"Teething can be managed without prescription or over-the-counter remedies," said Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a statement. "We recommend parents and caregivers not give homeopathic teething tablets and gels to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives."

Learn when your baby's teeth may appear, and what to do if they cause discomfort coming in.

If parents want to help their children seek relief from the pain, Henry Spiller, MS, D.ABAT, director of the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital, told CBS News he recommends speaking to their doctor about safe alternatives, such as low doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Safe teething toys are another option, Rocio B. Quinonez, DMD, MS, MPH, told Parents.com. Here's what to look for in such a toy:

  • Does not contain external paint
  • Is all one piece
  • Is larger than the hole of a toilet paper roll (smaller toys can be choking hazards)

If your child has diarrhea, fever, or ear rubbing, he added, this is not teething related and you should seek the advice of your physician.

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and a mom. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Twitter at @holleewoodworld.

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