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FDA Warns- Benzocaine Harmful to Babies

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning parents and caregivers about the dangers of using benzocaine products to treat infant teething. The FDA first warned the public about serious and fatal complications regarding benzocaine and babies back in 2006.

What is Benzocaine?

Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that can be found in over-the-counter products that soothe sore gums in babies and most tooth pain in adults. Over-the Counter benzocaine products include:

  • Anbesol
  • Hurricaine
  • Orajel
  • Baby Orajel
  • Orabase

Benzocaine and Methemoglobinemia

Using benzocaine gels and liquids for gum and mouth pain can lead to a rare condition called methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia is a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is reduced. In severe cases, this can lead to death.

According to an FDA pharmacist, the agency has received 29 reports of benzocaine gel-related cases of methemoglobinemia. Nineteen of those cases occurred in children and 15 of those 19 cases were in children under 2 years of age.

Using Benzocaine Safely

The FDA recommends parents and caregivers not use benzocaine on children younger than 2 years old, except under the advice and supervision of health care professional. Symptoms of methemoglobinemia include:

  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips and nail beds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness
  • Rapid heart rate
Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney

At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and resources to handle your child’s case. If your child has been the victim of a serious injury, contact our offices. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.


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