At least 10 babies have died and 400 children have developed serious illnesses after being treated for teething pain with homeopathic remedies, federal authorities announced Wednesday.
The FDA launched an investigation into the natural remedies after receiving a “comprehensive report” about an infant who suffered a seizure after the gel was applied to the child’s gums, said spokeswoman Lyndsay Meyer.
The news was first reported this morning in BuzzFeed.
During the past six years, hundreds of infants have suffered a number of adverse health effects after being treated with the questionable cures. Ailments linked to the homeopathic substances also included fevers, shortness of breath, lethargy, constipation, vomiting, sleeplessness, agitation and irritability. Homeopathy has no foundation in science.
The FDA is strongly advising parents to throw away any homeopathic teething remedies they might be using for their children.
“We’re not limiting our alert to any one product,” Meyer told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re making the alerts about all homeopathic teething products.”
Most homeopathic remedies often contain nothing but water. But several brands of the infant teething products contain belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade. The substance is used in infinitesimally small amounts to allegedly help ease redness and inflammation.
A statement issued by Hyland’s Homeopathic on October 1 said “a 10-pound child would have to accidentally ingest, all at the same time, more than a dozen bottles of 135 Baby Teething Tablets before experiencing even a dry mouth from the product.”
On Tuesday, Hyland’s announced it would stop distributing the teething products in the US.
Drug store CVS removed all homeopathic teething remedies from its shelves on September 30.
Belladonnais one of the world’s most toxic plants. It has been used for cosmetic purposes, diluted into an eye drop solution to cause irises to dilate.
But it has also been used to tip poison arrows.
Meyer stressed that the federal investigation is still underway, and no one product has been specifically implicated in the infant deaths and illnesses.
The FDA does not recommend any medicinal product for teething pain. Suffering infants may have their gums massaged by an adult finger or be given a cold wash cloth to chew on.