The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recent press release urging parents to discontinue the use of homeopathic teething tablets and other products that contain high levels of belladonna.
Last week, the FDA announced laboratory tests of certain homeopathic teething tablets containing inconsistent amounts of belladonna, sometimes far exceeding the amount on the label. While still used in some homeopathic medicines, the FDA considers belladonna toxic.
“The body’s response to belladonna in children under two years of age is unpredictable and puts them at unnecessary risk,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We recommend that parents and caregivers not give these homeopathic teething tablets to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives.”
Hyland’s teething tablets were the target of an FDA safety warning in 2010 for containing inconsistent amounts of belladonna. Since that time, the FDA has received over 400 reports of adverse effects linked to the teething tablets. Serious side effects, including seizures, have been reported. Hyland’s website states the product is no longer distributed in the US, but has not agreed to a recall at this time.
The FDA release did note that Raritan Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey voluntarily recalled three of its products containing belladonna.
It’s natural for parents to want to ease the suffering of a fussy, teething baby. However, the risk associated with teething tablets is clear. Teething tablets containing belladonna are not safe.
Try these simple and safe remedies to relieve teething pain in your little one:
- Gentle gum massage. A clean finger is all you need. Gently press on baby’s gums, or let baby gnaw away on your finger.
- Cold wet washcloth. This works particularly well if baby has some indication of teeth coming through.
- Plush cold (not frozen) or rubber (BPA-free) teething toys. (Teething ring, pacifier, Sophie the Giraffe.)
- It may sound simple, but sometimes the best remedy is play time!
Contact Green Hills Pediatric Associates for more information on the FDA’s press release, or for additional ideas on helping your infant through the teething process.