Benzocaine and Babies: Not a Good Mix
May 31, 2012 - 11:37:01 AM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - When a baby is teething, many a mom reaches for a pain remedy containing benzocaine to help soothe sore gums. Benzocaine is a local anesthetic and can be found in such over-the-counter (OTC) products as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase.
But the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious—and sometimes fatal—condition called methemoglobinemia. Children under 2 years old are at particular risk.
Adults, too can develop methemoglobinemia, so it’s still a good idea to talk to your health care provider about using benzocaine, especially if you have heart disease; are a smoker; or have breathing problems such as asthma, bronchitis or emphysema. These conditions put you at greater risk for complications relating to methemoglobinemia.
Read the Consumer Update to learn more about methemoglobinemia and how to recognize the warning signs, and about safer alternatives for teething babies.
FDA Consumer Updates may be posted and published elsewhere without permission. Please credit "FDA Consumer Health Information" as the source. FDA values feedback on its consumer health information. Send questions, comments or story ideas to: email@example.com.
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
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