The Food and Drug Administration has suspected that some homeopathic teething products were dangerous for kids since late September. Now, FDA officials are launching an investigation into the possibility that the possible damage caused by these tablets and gels is much more extensive and heartbreaking than initially thought. In addition to being associated with reportedly inducing medical events such as seizures, vomiting, and fever over a six-year period, certain homeopathic teething products potentially caused 10 children to die — a total of about 400 incidents that is putting parents everywhere on edge.
On Sept. 30, the FDA issued a statement advising parents and guardians not to give their infants and toddlers homeopathic tablets or gels to ease the pain of teething, and to get rid of any such products they may already have. Investigators aren't certain that the medical events or deaths are, in fact, related to the homeopathic products, which are billed as "natural" relief.
"At this time, the FDA is still conducting our investigation, and we have not yet completed the analyses of products to determine if there is an association between the adverse events and the homeopathic teething products," FDA spokesperson Lyndsay Meyer told BuzzFeed News on Wednesday.
On the day of the FDA's waring, CVS announced that it had voluntarily recalled all homeopathic teething products from its shelves. Two of the ten products identified in the announcement were of CVS's own brand; Three were Baby Orajel Naturals, and the other five were Hyland's.
Romper reached out to both Orajel and Hyland's for comment, but did not immediately hear back. Hyland's, though, did publish a letter on its website Tuesday explaining that it would discontinue the distribution of its teething medicines in the United States in response to the FDA's announcement of its investigation. The company stressed that it believes that all of its products are safe:
Many retailers, because of the announcement, have chosen to stop selling homeopathic teething medicines in their stores while others have not. We are confident that any available Hyland’s teething products, including those you already have, are safe for use. Of course, parents who may have concerns should consult with their physicians before using any medicines, read labels carefully and follow all instructions.
In a statement to Romper, CVS spokesperson Mike DeAngelis emphasized that the company had decided to withdraw all brands of homeopathic teething products from its shelves. "CVS Pharmacy’s store brands are designed to maximize quality and assure the products we offer are safe, work as intended, comply with regulations and satisfy customers," he wrote.
Still, if parents or guardians notice children who have used homeopathic teething gels experiencing seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, the FDA encourages them to seek medical assistance immediately.
It's also worth noting that homeopathic teething products do not have any health benefits that the FDA recognizes. What's more, the administration has not approved them for safety or efficacy. The results of the investigation into whether they're responsible for the seizures, vomiting, fevers, and even deaths that have been reported are, obviously, not yet available, but perhaps it's a much better option to heed the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics for easing teething discomfort: allowing babies to chew on a wet washcloth chilled in the freezer, a frozen banana or berries, or solid teething rings. It's also a good idea to massage a baby's gums with your fingers.