FDA Issues Warning About Dangerous Teething Products | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

As many parents can attest, one of the most painful times for babies is when they are cutting teeth. Many babies suffer from runny noses, fevers, and even earaches as each of those teeth break through those tiny gums. Teething usually leads to many sleepless nights for both baby and parents, who often turn to over-the-counter teething relief aids based on the advice of pediatricians and pharmacists. However, a recent warning by the Food and Drug Administration has led to many parents seeking out alternative forms of teething remedies for their little ones.

FDA Warning

Many over-the-counter teething medications contain benzocaine and it is this ingredient that led to the FDA vigorously warning parents and other consumers to immediately using any product on their child that contains benzocaine. The agency has even gone so far as to send letters to manufacturers, requesting that they cease producing any medications for teething and warning that if the companies fail to stop, the FDA will impose whatever regulatory measures are available to them in order to remove these products from the market.


According to research that has been done on benzocaine, the use of this ingredient often leads to a condition called methemoglobinemia. This condition causes oxygen levels to drop, sometimes to levels which can be fatal. In the past, the FDA has concluded that these over-the-counter teething medications offer virtually no benefit to babies because they are quickly rinsed out of the infant’s mouth after being applied, especially given the extra drooling many babies have caused by their teething.

In its warning to consumers, the FDA stated, “The FDA is committed to protecting the American public from products that pose serious safety risks, especially those with no demonstrated benefit.”

Over-the-counter products which contain benzocaine usually come in gel, ointment, spray, or tablet form and are marketed under the following brands:

  • Anbesol
  • Cepacol
  • Chloraseptic
  • Hurricaine
  • Orabase
  • Orajel
  • Topex
  • Generic or store brand

Pursuing a Claim

Medical studies have long suggested that these teething products are dangerous to children. The potential side effects of breathing difficulties, lightheadedness, rapid heart rate, sleeplessness, and even death have been documented, yet doctors continued to recommend these products to parents as a way to alleviate teething symptoms.

If you or your child has been injured because of a dangerous product, a Virginia product liability attorney may be able to assist you in pursuing a claim against the manufacturer for selling a defective product or failing to issue proper warnings. Damages can include:

  • All medical expenses;
  • Lost wages and any future loss of earnings if the victim has been left with a disability;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional anguish; and
  • Scarring or disfigurement.

At Shapiro & Appleton, we have been fighting for accident victims for more than three decades and will work diligently to get you the amount of compensation you deserve for your losses. Call our office today at 757-578-1079 for a free and confidential consultation to find out how our legal team can help.