The Tablet Controversy

She asked him to bring her a cookie for Christmas. I hope he knows it needs to be lactose free.

On October 23rd, the FDA issued a warning to stop using Hyland’s Teething Tablets. The tablets contain belladonna which, when dissolved in a baby’s mouth, is thought to ease teething pain.

The FDA cited these problems with the tablets in their report:

  1. They’ve received reports of belladonna toxicity – symptoms include: seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, sleepiness, weakness, skin flushing, constipation, agitation.
  2. They’ve identified manufacturing inconsistencies that result in varying degrees of the substance in the tablets.
  3. They point out that the tablets have not been proven to work.
  4. They’ve received reports of babies consuming too many tablets because there is no child proof cap.

Seattle Mama Doc recommends not using any tablets or gels of any kind because they’re not proven to work.  She recommends baby Tylenol (if anything) for teething pain, but I’m not sure that is the right solution either after their recent recall debacle. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at Johnson & Johnson the same.

On the other side of the debate is Gaia Health who claims that the amount of belladonna is so low that a baby would have to consume thousands of the tablets to show any signs of toxicity and that the FDA’s actions are the result of pressure by big pharmaceuticals. Now, I’m all for a good conspiracy theory, especially one that involves the FDA, but the question I just can’t answer is this: why would big pharma want Hyland’s to be off the market? Are they competing with Hylands or is it just because Hylands is unregulated? Also, if it takes thousands of tablets to show signs of toxicity, is there really enough belladonna in each table to relieve pain?

We used the tablets when Josie was teething with mixed results. Sometimes it seemed like it helped, sometimes not. Josie was kind of a fussy baby and I think many times we incorrectly assumed her fussiness was a result of teething pain. Now we know that was likely lactose intolerance. Hello, bad mommy feeding her cow’s milk formula! Sheesh, the guilt… Anyhoo, it’s a tough call but I think the risks outweigh the benefits.

Have you used them? Did they work? What do you think of all this?

2 thoughts on “The Tablet Controversy

  1. Beth

    Used them, who knows if they worked. I think it just made ME feel better that I was doing something for what I thought was teething pain. Also, Zoe did find the bottle once and ate a bunch of them. Great! Now I’m going through what I think is teething with Luke, and he is having a much worse time of it than Zoe. I’ve been giving him generic acetaminophen daily…at least it helps him sleep!
    By the way, great picture of Josie and Santa :)

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