The Homeopathy Question: Are Homeopathic Teething Tablets Safe to Use?

By now, you would have probably heard of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent statement regarding Hyland’s teething tablets and other products like it. A CNN report on October 13 delineated the FDA’s many findings regarding these homeopathic pills, emphasizing its possible links to the death of 10 children.

The FDA’s recent announcement follows a safety alert in 2010 that found “inconsistent amounts of belladonna” in the teething tablets. Belladonna is, for those unfamiliar, a plant more popularly known as deadly nightshade. Its leaves and berries are extremely toxic and have been used as poison before controlled amounts were found to work as effective herbal medicine.

Belladonna is used as a sedative and relaxant for Parkinson’s disease, colic, and motion sickness, as well as a painkiller for rheumatism, neuralgia, and sciatica. Hyland’s teething tablets are again being put into question because it’s been shown to cause adverse effects that mirror the symptoms of belladonna overdose. There were 400 reports of Hyland’s teething tablets causing fever, lethargy, sleepiness, vomiting, muscle tremors, shortness of breath, difficulty urinating, agitation, and seizures over the last six years since the FDA issued its first safety warning.

This news might leave you wondering, as the lawyers of Williams Kherkher have suggested, why such a toxic ingredient can be used in a product meant for infants and children. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the techniques of homeopathy are based on the principle of “like cures like”, meaning that a disease can be treated using substances that mimic the symptoms of the condition that’s trying to be cured. Homeopathic remedies are prepared by diluting these substances to the point that almost no molecule of the original is retained.

In the teething tablets, belladonna was supposedly properly diluted to a minimally potent solution, making it a safe alternative treatment. Unfortunately, since homeopathic treatments aren’t evaluated by the FDA, there’s no reliable way to know if the potentially deadly substances used in these tablets had actually been properly prepared.

If you are looking for ways to help soothe your teething baby, there are a variety of different remedies available to try. Making use of chew toys and damp washcloths are techniques that have been tried and tested by millions of other parents before you. For babies that remain fussy and uncomfortable even after these easy-to-do interventions, you can also ask your physician about using pain medication that’s safe for young children.

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