The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning on Sept. 30 regarding homeopathic teething tablets and gels for babies and kids.
Dr. Janet Woodcock, who heads the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in an agency press release:
Teething can be managed without prescription or over-the-counter remedies. We recommend parents and caregivers not give homeopathic teething tablets and gels to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives.
The FDA recommended that parents get immediate medical care if children experience "seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels."
The FDA said in the news release that it is analyzing reported incidents of children and babies experiencing seizures. The government agency is also testing the product samples, which it normally does not do with supplements:
Homeopathic teething tablets and gels have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or efficacy. The agency is also not aware of any proven health benefit of the products, which are labeled to relieve teething symptoms in children.
The FDA also made mention of a 2010 safety alert about homeopathic teething tablets, but did not go into detail.
However, CBS News reports that the safety alert was about Hyland's Teething Tablets, which were found at the time to have varying amounts of belladonna.
WebMD notes that belladonna, a plant that is often used as a supplement, can be poisonous.
The medical site adds: "Though widely regarded as unsafe, belladonna is used as a sedative, to stop bronchial spasms in asthma and whooping cough, and as a cold and hay fever remedy. It is also used for Parkinson's disease, colic, motion sickness, and as a painkiller."
According to CBS News, the FDA received reports in 2010 of children, who took the teething product, experiencing adverse effects that were "consistent with belladonna toxicity."