By DR. SALLY ROBINSON

The Food and Drug Administration advises parents to stop giving babies homeopathic teething tablets or gels and to throw the products away. The FDA is investigating reports of children who have had seizures, breathing problems, sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating and agitation after using these products.
Homeopathic teething tablets and gels are sold at drugstores and online. The products are labeled for soothing babies’ teething pain, but they have not been approved by the FDA for teething pain or evaluated for safety.

Some of the products pulled from the store shelves include:

• Baby Orajel Naturals Gel, Nighttime Formula and Natural tablets;

• Hyland’s Baby Nighttime Teething tablets, Teething Gel, Teething Tablets; and

• CVS’ Homeopathic Infant’s Teething Tablet and Teething Liquid.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using gels or tablets to soothe teething infant’s gums. Instead caregivers can rub the child’s gums, offer chew toys or cold (not frozen) teething toys; and use clean frozen wet washcloths on infant’s gums.

Combining data from 10 major studies, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that gum irritation, irritability and drooling were the most frequent symptoms of teething in infants and toddlers. A slight rise in body temperature was another common symptom, but most often was not high enough to be considered a fever.

The authors said the finding was important because if a child develops a true fever, generally considered to be over 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit), assuming that the cause is teething may lead doctors or parents to miss possible illness or infection that requires treatment. This study also found that symptoms of teething tended to peak during emergence of a child’s primary incisors or front teeth, which can occur between 6 and 16 months of age, and decreased as the child got older.

Seek immediate medical care if you think your child has a reaction after using the products listed above. Reports side effect to the FDA at www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report or call 800-332-1088.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.