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Potential Dangers of Pain Relievers for Teething

Parents sometimes use products with benzocaine as pain relievers for teething babies. However, the use of benzocaine, a local anesthetic found in some over-the-counter products, including Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel, and Orabase, can lead to a rare but potentially fatal condition called methemoglobinemia.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), children under 2 years of age are at especially high risk. Adults with heart disease or breathing problems and smokers are also at increased risk.

Review FDA’s warning, Benzocaine and Babies: Not a Good Mix, for a list of symptoms of methemoglobinemia and see suggested alternatives for soothing teething babies.