Hyland’s Teething Tablets Recall

Some of you may have heard of or read the following FDA press release regarding Hyland’s Teething Tablets:

http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm230761.htm

and the press release in response from Standard Homeopathic who makes the Hyland’s products:

http://www.hylands.com/news/hylands-teething-recall.php

For those of you that are concerned about using this product, there are a few things that you should know:

– The company has voluntarily taken the product off the market due to the FDA warning.  The FDA has not actually evaluated this product for safety and efficacy; rather it appears that it has ‘flagged’ Belladonna and this product as potentially toxic due to a few reports. 

– The product is a homeopathic preparation containing homeopathic doses of Belladonna.  In its pure plant form, Atropa belladonna (Latin), is poisonous.  Despite its potential side effects in crude form, it can be used therapeutically by herbalists and naturopathic physicians who are familiar with its use and appropriate dosing.  More commonly it is used homeopathically to avoid toxicity and side effects. 

– Homeopathic dosing and use indicates that a substance has been diluted to generally one part per 1,000,000,000,000 parts of water.  In other words, the substance itself is not being used to treat, rather its ‘energetic imprint’.  Homeopathic remedies are routinely used safely and effectively by trained practitioners in infancy, pregnancy, and many other stages of life. 

– It is possible to have side effects or to ‘prove’ a remedy (exhibit the symptoms the substance would create in larger doses) if excess amounts of the remedy are taken (e.g. a child eating a whole bottle of teething tablets).

– Atropine is a medication that is partly derived from Atropa belladonna that has many medical uses such as: dilating pupils, speeding up one’s heart rate as part of resuscitation, or to counteract symptoms of organophosphate (pesticide) poisoning. 

– Due to its action on our nervous system, many of the symptoms of toxicity are consistent with interfering with our parasympathetic nervous system (‘rest and relax’) and enhancing our sympathetic nervous system (‘fight or flight’).  Some of these side effects are:  increased heart rate, dilated pupils, constricted breathing, dry mucous membranes, decreased saliva, decreased digestive function and constipation, dizziness, nausea, or seizure. 

– From a clinical perspective, I have used this product safely with hundreds of little ones, without reports of side effects or toxicity.  At the same time, I have been trained in the use of homeopathic remedies, am very familiar with prescribing them, and talk with my families about how to use them appropriately.  Neither the FDA press release, nor my commentary here, should replace a conversation with your pediatric provider about any treatments that you administer to your little ones. 

Take care, Dr. Sunita

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