FDA Warning on Chemical Found in Some Oral Numbing Gels


SPRINGFIELD — The Food and Drug Administration released a warning Wednesday on Benzocaine, saying it can be deadly to children under two. 

Using oral gels containing benzocaine are a common thought for people when their little ones are in pain from teething.

The FDA has issued warnings like this before with benzocaine products, but now they are asking for it to be removed from shelves. 

Pharmacist John Lehn at Dan’s Discount Drug Mart explains some the issues that the FDA highlights in its newest benzocaine warning. 

“Two of the by-products that it gets turned into actually prevent your blood from collecting oxygen, from binding oxygen. Your blood can’t actually get the oxygen it needs to take it to the of your body,” Lehn says.  

According to the FDA, this can cause potentially lethal side effects for children under age two. 

“Especially in little kids, they can’t over come that quickly. They have a difficult time getting the oxygen they need, so it can cause breathing problems,” Lehn says. 

To avoid those kinds of problems cold objects can be used to numb the pain as well as teething toys, but there are some medicinal alternatives to consider for children. 

“Acetaminophen, the generic Tylenol,” says Lehn. “If your kid is under six months and they start teething, this would be your go to if you are looking for a medication. Ibuprofen, it’s going to be your go-to for kids over six months. You can use it with the Tylenol or by itself as well.” 

For your child’s next toothache, Lehn says he would recommend those options over numbing creams and gels. 

The FDA says they reviewed 119 cases of that blood disorder linked to benzocaine dating back to 2009, and that included four deaths.

The administration made it clear that if manufacturers choose to keep marketing those products for infants and young toddlers, they intend to sue those companies.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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