Teething tablets and gels for babies recalled in Singapore after FDA advisory

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Thursday (Oct 21) that the distributor of Hyland's teething products in Singapore has completed a product recall, following a recent US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory to consumers to stop using them.

Parents worldwide have grown worried with reports of deaths in the US linked with the use of homeopathic products to ease gum pain in teething babies.

Teething - baby teeth erupting through the gums - generally takes place when a child is between 6 months and 2½ years of age.

Regarding the safety of these teething tablets and gels, a spokesman told AsiaOne that HSA has not received any report of adverse effects related to their use. The products were recalled as a precautionary measure. 

He added that consumers should stop using them immediately and seek medical help if their child experiences any of the following symptoms - seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation.

In a Bloomberg report, US regulators said that over the past six years, at least 10 babies have died, and more than 400 others developed serious health problems from using homeopathic teething tablets and gels.

The FDA is now analysing reports of adverse reactions associated with the use of these remedies, and recently warned consumers of CVS and Hyland's teething tablets and gels to stop using these products and to dispose of them.

Photo: Website/Hyland's

In 2010, the FDA issued a similar warning against Hyland's teething tablets over concerns of a potentially toxic ingredient, belladonna.

According to Hyland, belladonna, also known as deadly nightshade, is used to ease redness, inflammation and discomfort of a teething child's gums.

However, FDA's tests revealed the product contained inconsistent amounts of belladonna, which should be carefully controlled to prevent poisoning.

These teething products are sold in both retail stores and online, and CVS Health and Hyland's announced last week that they have stopped distribution of the affected products in the US, TIME reported.

Belladonna plant Photo: Pixabay

Pain relief products are not the only way to soothe a baby's aching gums, here are some tips from the Health Promotion Board:

- Letting a baby chew on teething rings and baby biscuits to help relieve the pressure in his gums

- Massaging a baby's gums with a clean and wet fingertip 

- Cuddling with a baby can comfort him and distract him from the pain

- Giving a baby cold food and drinks to help temporarily numb the pain and replenish the fluids lost from drooling

Children who remain irritable after trying the above methods should be taken to the dentist or doctor for medical advice and treatment.

Photo: Stock Unlimited

minlee@sph.com.sg