As a parent it is very tempting to try to diminish your infant’s pain at any cost, but the FDA announced today that lidocaine is dangerous for teething babies. The local anesthetic called viscous lidocaine must not be used to treat infants younger than two years old, without a strict medical indication. Best is to avoid at all medication for teething babies as long as the teething process goes normal.
The viscous lidocaine is usually administered to chemotherapy patients who often suffer from associated mouth ulcers. The numbing gel has been given to babies has produced incidents in 22 cases involving children under the age of three and a half. The FDA decided to require warning labels on all viscous lidocaine products confining the application of the drug to toddlers. Michael Cohen, President of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, warned that viscous lidocaine can produce swallowing difficulties and even chocking, besides affections to the heart and nervous system.
Other over-the-counter drugs are included in the warning: Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase. Although it is a low probability, the contained benzocaine can lead to methemoglobinemia, a fatal condition involving the alteration of oxygen in the blood stream. While trying to provide medication for teething babies without proper medical indication, there is a high risk of hurting them.
Avoiding medication for teething babies
Babies grow teeth and is a normal process. Some of the symptoms are low-fever, mild irritability and the urge to chew hard materials. According to Ethan Hausman, M.D, “FDA does not recommend any sort of drug, herbal or homeopathic medication or therapy for teething children“. Infants might show signs of pain during the teething process, so for well-intended parents, the FDA recommends the following actions:
– “gently rub or massage the gums with your finger, and
– give your child a cool teething ring or a clean, wet, cool washcloth to chew on.”
It’s as simple as that. Well, it is so as you keep the infant under the regular supervision. Viscous lidocaine, even if it is available in the household from other family members, is too strong for infants’ organisms and should be used in their case only under strict medical supervision. Administering medication for teething babies should be avoided, if no specific medical indication, especially for lidocaine and benzocaine based drugs. Be a good friend and warn the other parents you know as well!