Parents warned not to give homeopathic teething tablets to babies

January 30, 2017 Providence Health Team

Don’t let your baby chew on Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets, lest he or she ingest dangerous amounts of a toxin.

That’s the word from the federal Food and Drug Administration, which says its tests found “inconsistent amounts” of belladonna, a dangerous toxin also known as deadly nightshade, in the tablets.

The earlier warning

The FDA first warned about toxins in homeopathic teething products in October, as we wrote at the time. The FDA investigated following reports of seizures and the deaths of at least 10 babies who were given the products.

In response to last fall’s warning, Hyland’s stopped marketing its teething tablets in the United States, even as it told parents serious toxic effects were “highly unlikely.”

Now the FDA wants the company to recall its tablets. Standard Homeopathic Co., which makes Hyland’s products, so far has not agreed to a recall.

In a letter to parents on its website, the company said it uses belladonna in its tablets “to ease the redness, inflammation and discomfort of the child’s gum that often occurs during the teething process.”

The FDA said its samples found belladonna at levels “sometimes far exceeding the amount claimed on the label.” The agency said the tablets pose “unnecessary risks” for teething infants.

Despite years of warnings, belladonna is still used as a sedative. It’s also used rectally, in hemorrhoid suppositories.

If your child shows symptoms

In its recent warning, the FDA advised parents to seek medical attention “if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething products.”

You can find a Providence provider in our directory.

A warning against homeopathic products

The FDA went on to note it knew of no value in homeopathic teething products, which it hasn’t evaluated or approved for safety or effectiveness.

“The agency is unaware of any proven health benefit of the products, which are labeled to relieve teething symptoms in children. In September 2016, the FDA warned against the use of these products after receiving adverse event reports.”

Homeopathy is an alternative medical system that believes substances that are harmful in large doses may be helpful in small ones. Homeopathy also believes that a product’s effectiveness increases as the dose of active ingredients is decreased.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health says there is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition.

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