FDA Consumer Update Regarding Pain-Relief Products in Children Under 2

Parents hate to see their little ones suffer through teething and other oral discomforts. That’s why it can be so frustrating trying to find a pain-relief solution that is safe and also effective. The shelves of the local drugstore are filled with gels and sprays that are designed to soothe the pain, but the Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning regarding the products that contain the topical anesthetic, benzocaine.

Before using these over-the-counter products, heed the FDA’s warning and consult your Charlotte pediatric dentist for advice. Studies have indicated that benzocaine may be associated a condition known as methemoglobinemia. Though it is rare, this condition can be very serious and is sometimes fatal. More notably, more than half of the reported cases since 2006 involve children under the age of 2.

Methemoglobinemia is a disorder in which the blood is unable to carry an adequate amount of oxygen. While adults and older children can also experience this disorder, statistics have indicated that children under the age of 2 appear to be at the greatest risk.

Recently, the FDA released a consumer update, outlining the symptoms of methemoglobinemia:

  • pale blue or purple coloration of the skin (the lips and nails may also be involved)
  • shortness of breath
  • extreme fatigue
  • mental confusion
  • headache
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • rapid or irregular heart rate

The ADA has granted the Seal of Acceptance to just two topical pain relief products with benzocaine, although neither product is intended for children under the age of 2.

There has not been a direct correlation between topical pain relief products and disorders such as methemoglobinemia, but in the interest of safety, you should always consult your pediatric dentist in Charlotte for a recommendation.

If your little one is experiencing oral pain, don’t hesitate to contact your pediatric dental office right away.