FDA Warns of Complications with Teething Gels Containing Benzocaine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received reports of methemoglobinemia, a rare but serious blood disorder that is associated with pain relievers, including teething gels, that contain benzocaine sold under the brand names Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, Orabase and generic brands.

Methemoglobinemia is a serious blood disorder that reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood stream and, in severe cases, can lead to death. Symptoms, which could possibly follow a single application of benzocaine with concentrations as low as 7.5 percent, include pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds; shortness of breath; fatigue; confusion; headache; lightheadedness; and rapid heart rate .

The FDA is advising health care professionals to refer to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines for teething, which recommend giving infants and toddlers a chilled (not frozen) teething ring or gently rubbing or massaging the gums with a finger instead of using benzocaine to relieve the symptoms.

For more information, visit the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm250024.htm and the ADA website at http://www.ada.org/news/5731.aspx.