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Teething Medication Linked to Injuries and Deaths

Filed June 30th, 2014 Eric

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning against using a lidocaine solution as a pain reliever on teething babies’ gums. The agency said lidocaine can cause serious injuries and even deaths in infants and toddlers.
According to the FDA warning, prescription oral viscous lidocaine 2 percent solution will now carry a black box warning to accentuate that it should not be used for teething pain.
The FDA made the determination after it reviewed 22 reports this year of serious reactions to the product, including deaths, in children ages 5 months to 3.5 years who were given the lidocaine solution or who accidently swallowed it, NBC News reported.

The Institute for Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP) said it has received reports of teething babies suffering overdoses of viscous lidocaine. “Symptoms include jitteriness, confusion, vision problems, vomiting, falling asleep too easily, shaking and seizures,” according to the FDA notice.
The drug also “can make swallowing difficult and can increase the risk of choking or breathing in food. It can lead to drug toxicity and affect the heart and nervous system,” Michael R. Cohen, RPh, MS, ISMP president said in the FDA notice.
Cohen said parents are sometimes guilty of repeatedly applying viscous lidocaine if a baby keeps fussing. They have also been known to put liquid gel forms of a topical anesthetic into a baby’s formula or even soak a pacifier or a cloth in it, then put that in their baby’s mouth. How much the baby gets is not measured, so it may be too much, he says. For all these reasons, FDA recommends viscous lidocaine not be used to treat the pain associated with teething.

This is not the first time the FDA has weighed in on teething medications. The agency previously recommended that parents and caregivers avoid using benzocaine products for children under the age of 2 years, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional. Benzocaine, which is a local anesthetic like viscous lidocaine, can be found in such OTC products as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase, according to the FDA.

The agency is advising parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatricians’ recommendations for treating teething pain. The recommendations call for gently massaging the child’s gums with your finger or using a chilled teething ring, NBC News reported.

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