Monday, March 13, 2017

Homeopathic infant teething tablets pulled off CVS shelves - FDA issues warning about products containing unsafe levels of belladonna

Homeopathic remedies are many times thought of gentle and natural. But recently the FDA found unsafe levels of belladonna in infant teething tablets. According to a February 28, 2017 JAMA news item, Amid Reports of Infant Deaths, FTC Cracks Down on Homeopathy While FDA Investigates, CVS has pulled all those items off their shelves and Hyland has stopping manufacturing new products, but has not necessarily removed existing products off their shelves. Since 2010, over 400 adverse events had been reported, including 10 deaths. 
  • “The body’s response to belladonna in children under two years of age is unpredictable and puts them at unnecessary risk,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. ”We recommend that parents and caregivers not give these homeopathic teething tablets to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives.”
As a parent I understand the desire to give our children "natural" products. But I don't think many parents know that no U.S. entity regulates homeopathic remedies. If we find an item at a large, national drug store we might place some trust in that item and the companies that manufacture them. But our trust might be misplaced. 

The FTC has recently tried to give consumers a little more information and now requires homeopathic products to contain labels, but critics think it might backfire and encourage use of products "outside the medical mainstream". 

I'm still holding out hope that the FDA itself might get involved in regulation of these "remedies" to protect our littlest patients and our families themselves. 

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