The Food And Drug Administration has issued a consumer update to bring awareness to the dangers of pain liquids and gels used to ease teeth and mouth pain. The topical anesthetic solutions such as Orajel, Baby Orajel, Anbesol, Hurricaine and orabase contain benzocaine which can cause a rare but sometimes fatal condition called methemoglobinemia.
Methemoglobinemia is a rare blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of methemoglobin a form of hemoglobin is produced. Hemoglobin is the molecule in red blood cells that distributes oxygen throughout the body. In methemoglobinemia, the hemoglobin is unable to release oxygen effectively to body tissues.
The FDA has been issuing warning about these items containing benzocaine for many years, since 2006 there have been 29 cases reported of benzocaine related cases of methemoglobinemia.
Some symptoms to watch for are shortness of breath, gray, pale or blue colored lips, skin and fingernail beds, rapid heartbeat, becoming lightheaded and headache.
Our recommendation for teething children is to stay clear of any of these products and instead try teething rings and gum massages and tons of patience.