American parents have been frightened to learn the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) has opened an investigation into homeopathic teething products. More than 400 babies have experienced seizures, shortness of breath, vomiting and constipation after being given these products. Ten children are known to have died thus far.
The major pharmacies have pulled the products from their shelves, and the FDA has issued a formal warning to parents to “stop using these products and dispose of any in their possession.”
Homeopathic remedies have been in existence since early in the 19th century. Homeopathy is based on the theory that a miniscule diluted dose of whatever makes a person sick can help the body build up a tolerance. Homeopathy is widely practiced in Europe, and American sales of homeopathic remedies totaled $6.4 billion dollars in 1012.
Nevertheless, no scientific studies have proven the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies.
The FDA has expressed concern about the potential health risks of homeopathic products for infants since 2010, when it warned consumers about belladonna toxicity caused by Hyland’s Teething Tablets. Belladonna, often called deadly nightshade, is a poisonous plant. It was at one time used as a painkiller, but it’s effects are extremely unpredictable.
The FDA continues to follow up, although they do not yet have sufficient evidence to issue a recall. In an email to Bloomberg, the agency wrote:
It is important to note that while adverse event reports give us some information about a product and serious injuries or deaths related to use of a particular product, they often indicate situations that require additional analysis and do not constitute conclusive evidence of a problem with the product.
On September 30, 2016, the FDA issued a statement warning patients not to use homeopathic teething products. The agency reiterated that it “does not approve of homeopathic drugs.”
Hyland’s, the manufacturer of the homeopathic teething tablets that contain belladonna announced on October 11 that they would discontinue the line of teething products. According to their website:
This decision was made in light of the recent warning issued by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels. This warning has created confusion among parents and limited access to the medicines.
In spite of the FDA warning, Hyland’s says it is still confident the products were safe.