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No More Lidocaine For Babies

Recently, a friend’s babypicked up a nasty virus from daycare that caused little blisters on his hands, feet, and mouth.  As you can imagine, the poor little babe was in pain and I was racking my brain on how to relieve the pain in his mouth. I started to do a little research on topical oral anesthetics for children and came across a new warning from the FDA. On June 26, 2014, the FDA released a safety announcement advising against the use of lidocaine and benzocaine on infants and young children. 

At most drug stores, topical oral gels and liquids with benzocaine and lidocaine are sold over the counter; ie Orajel, Baby Orajel, Orabase, and other various store brands. These are often used to relieve the pain of teething. As it turns out, the topical pain relievers aren’t very effective since it washes out of the baby’s mouth within minutes. Doctors are also advised not to prescribe viscous lidocaine or recommend benzocaine to treat teething pain. The FDA warns, “When too much viscous lidocaine is given to infants and young children or they accidentally swallow too much, it can result in seizures, severe brain injury, and problems with the heart.”  Some alternative recommendations for treating teeth pain are:

  • Chilled teething ring
  • Gently rub or massage the child’s gum with your cleanfinger 

Although my friend’s son was not in pain from teething, I knew topical anesthetics were not the best treatment. Only rest, warm liquids, and lots of love would do the trick in his case. 

To see the full safety announcement from the FDA, please click here. 

*image sourced from FDA.gov

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