FDA: Orajel, Anbesol bad for infants

Benzocaine can cause breathing problems

SAN ANTONIO - It's a sound new parents grow to tolerate -- the sound of a crying, teething infant.

When teething begins, many parents turn to Orajel to help ease the pain. But this week, the Food and Drug Administration is warning parents to think twice before using Orajel, Anbesol and other products with the active ingredient benzocaine.

"Specifically with the benzocaine or Orajel medications, it can cause severe problems with kids as far as their ability to breath," said Dr. Sky Izaddoost of North Hills Family Medicine.

Izaddoost said benzocaine can cause a reaction in the red blood cells that depletes the amount of oxygen being carried throughout the body -- especially in infants, but also in adults.

"The problem is, if you're not getting oxygen to different parts of your body, you can have severe problems breathing as well as death as a result," Izaddoost said.

Medication with benzocaine should never be given to a child under 2 years old, Izaddoost said. And for older children, it's best to consult your doctor before using it.

As an alternative, Izaddoost recommends freezing a clean wash rag for your baby to chew on.


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