Experts say pain medication used on teething babies may do more harm than good

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The Food and Drug Administration is issuing a warning about pain medication used on teething babies.

FDA officials are worried about serious die effects, even death.

On average, experts say children get one new tooth a month between the ages of 6 months and 3 years.  A dry is sometimes an indicator.

Dr. Patricia Flanagan with the Hasbro Children’s Hospital said, “Teething is a normal process. Babies teethe often without us even noticing it.”

But when parents do notice it, they want to make it better.  They may reach for a medicated topical numbing gel.

Dr. Flanagan said, “I think the overall upshot is babies should probably not have medicine for teething pain.”

Dr. Flanagan says it has gotten to the point where the FDA is taking a stand.

She said, “At the end of June, the FDA came out with a new warning against lidocaine — 2 percent lidocaine — which is prescription medicine that’s quite often prescribed for babies who are teething but should not be.”

The warning is not just for prescription lidocaine, it is also for over-the-counter benzocaine, which comes in one strength for adults and another one for babies.

Experts say if these numbing topicals are used inappropriately or too often, there can be consequences.

Dr. Flanagan said, “Those children can have seizures, confusion, heart abnormalities and there were several deaths.”

Flanagan said parents are better off using natural remedies.

She said, “A cool teething ring or even a washcloth that you put in the refrigerator, not the freezer, but if you can have a cool wash cloth that you dampen and put in the refrigerator, kids can suck on it and it can be a very soothing thing for them.”

Parents can also run or massage baby’s gums with a finger to help soothe the teething pain.


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