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The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning early Wednesday about over-the-counter teething products that contain the pain reliever benzocaine, saying the products were unsafe and asking the companies that make them to stop. Affected products include those sold by Pfizer’s Anbesol line , Church & Dwight’s Orajel and Baby Orajel , Reckitt Benckiser’s Cepacol , Prestige Brands’ Chloraseptic , privately-held Beutlich Pharmaceuticals’ Hurricaine and Colgate-Palmolive’s Orabase , along with generic products and those made by store brands. Benzocaine can cause a life-threatening condition called methemoglobinemia, which reduces the amount of oxygen carried through the blood. There have been an estimated more than 400 cases of methemoglobinemia connected to benzocaine since 1971, 119 of which occurred in the last decade, according to the FDA. There’s also a lack of evidence that these benzocaine products work for teething, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. The regulator is also asking companies to add warnings to other oral health products that use benzocaine, as well as prescription local anesthetics. Benzocaine is a common ingredient in cough drops and products for oral ulcers. The FDA also warned consumers earlier this year against using homeopathic teething tables, due to the presence of the toxic substance belladonna.

  • May. 23, 2018 at 10:17 a.m. ET
  • by Emma Court

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