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Safety of Benzocaine Teething Products

Signs and Symptoms of Methemoglobinemia

If methemoglobinemia occurs, the signs and symptoms typically appear within minutes to a few hours of using the benzocaine product. If any of these signs or symptoms are experienced or observed in you or your child after the use of a benzocaine product, stop using the medication and seek immediate medical care.
Signs and symptoms to look out for include:
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness.

Final Thoughts

Labels of OTC benzocaine products currently do not contain the warning about methemoglobinemia, so there is concern for consumers who may not be aware of and monitor for this serious condition when using these products. Benzocaine products are sold under many names, so it is important to look at the list of active ingredients on labels for products used to relieve pain in the mouth and gums.
Adults using a benzocaine product should follow the product label and keep it out of reach of children. It is recommended that benzocaine products not be used in children two years old or younger, except under the advice and supervision of their healthcare provider. You should always consult your child's healthcare provider before giving your baby any teething gels, medications, or homeopathic remedies.
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters
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