Benzocaine & Teething Infants: Know the Potential Risks

What is the potential risk of giving benzocaine to an infant?

The FDA issued a warning about the risk of giving benzocaine to babies under 24 months of age. If given benzocaine-containing products, they can develop a rare, but serious, condition called Methemoglobinemia.

What is Methemoglobinemia?

Methemoglobinemia is when the amount of oxygen carried in the blood is greatly reduced because the blood has too much of a substance known as Methemoglobin.

Methemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that carries much less oxygen than the body needs to function properly.

Symptoms of Methemoglobinemia

This rare condition causes many adverse symptoms, including:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Blue, grey or pale skin color
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Rapid heart rate

In the most severe cases, Methemoglobinemia can be fatal. Treatment includes provision of supplemental oxygen and specific intravenous medications.

Be Safe. Talk to Your Doctor.

If you have any questions about using benzocaine-containing products for your child, consult your pediatrician or medical professional prior to use.
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