Hundreds of babies and toddlers have become severely ill or died in the past decade or so, and families believe signs point to a certain line of “natural health solutions” as the culprit.
“My daughter had a seizure, lost consciousness, and stopped breathing about 30 minutes after I gave her three Hyland’s Teething Tablets,” one mother told the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to STAT News. “She had to receive mouth-to-mouth CPR to resume breathing and was brought to the hospital.”
The FDA has been investigating the accusations leveled against Hyland’s, a homeopathic medicine business, according to STAT News, which obtained FDA reports through the Freedom of Information Act.
The reports detail heartbreaking stories of babies getting gravely sick, even dying in many instances, after taking the homeopathic teething tablets or gel. The FDA, though, took nearly four years to pressure Hyland’s into modifying the recipes of its remedies.
“Adverse events” occurred in more than 370 children who used Hyland’s homeopathic teething products, according to the FDA records. Eight babies ultimately died from their illnesses, but the FDA has not yet completely confirmed if the solutions were the precise cause.
The FDA issued a notice in September, “warning consumers that homeopathic teething tablets and gels may pose a risk to infants and children.” (RELATED: 100 Million Opioids Prescribed For Tooth Removal Go Unused Every Year)
The investigations specifically focused on an ingredient called “atropa belladonna,” an herb informally known as “deadly nightshade.” Other members of the broader nightshade family include tomatoes, eggplants, etc. The symptoms the babies reportedly experienced included seizures, vomiting, difficulty breathing, lethargy, trouble urinating, and muscle weakness — all consistent with belladonna poisoning.
While it urges parents to consult with their physicians if there are concerns, Hyland’s still stresses that its homeopathic products are safe for consumption.
“Many retailers, because of the announcement, have chosen to stop selling homeopathic teething medicines in their stores while others have not,” reads an official message from Hyland’s dated in October. “We are confident that any available Hyland’s teething products, including those you already have, are safe for use.”
Hyland’s is the largest homeopathic business in America, according to STAT News. It asserts that the FDA has not been able to show any scientific link between its products and complications. (RELATED: FDA Doesn’t Want You To Eat Cookie Dough, But Not Because Of Raw Eggs)
“That doesn’t mean that children don’t have a sensitivity to a product. There is a lot of sensitivity on kids’ parts and we have to watch carefully,” said Mary Borneman a company spokesperson, according to STAT News. “It’s not something that condemns the entire product line.”
Experts in the healthcare industry say the FDA should do more to rein in this specific alternative medicine, especially since certain doctors told STAT News that these weren’t merely allergic reactions, and that they should investigate Hyland’s products.
“The FDA could bring the hammer down on them,” Sarah Sorscher, an attorney for the nonprofit Public Citizen Health Research Group, told STAT News. “But it doesn’t. At the point where you have infants being hospitalized and deaths reported, it’s simply not acceptable for the agency to delay in taking action.” (RELATED: Laced Opioids Are Confusing Coroners And Health Experts)
The FDA, though, says there isn’t quite enough evidence to completely ban and recall the products.
“It is important to note that while adverse event reports give us some information about a product and serious injuries or deaths related to use of a particular product, they often indicate situations that require additional analysis and do not constitute conclusive evidence of a problem with the product,” FDA spokesperson, Lyndsay Meyer, said in a statement.
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