Homeopathy Lost This One to Science

By Julianna LeMieux — Oct 17, 2016
In the wake of the recent FDA warning to avoid homeopathic teething gels and tablets – as well as the ongoing investigation of 10 infant deaths – Hyland's, the homeopathic company, announced it will stop producing these products. Chalk up a win for science, at least this time. 

Last month, we reported on the FDA's recommendations to stay away from homeopathic teething remedies. Now, it seems that those warnings have helped move the needle in the direction of protecting children's health.

Less than a month later, one of the companies named in the FDA press release, Hyland's, announced that they are ceasing production of their homeopathic teething remedies. 

In an open letter on their website, Hyland's state that, 

  • "It is therefore with much sadness that we share with you that we have chosen to discontinue the distribution of our Hyland’s teething medicines in the United States. This decision was made in light of the recent warning issued by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels. This warning has created confusion among parents and limited access to the medicines." 

And, kudos to the FDA for a job well done. Creating confusion among parents is what, we would say, homeopaths spend most of their time doing. A little confusion in the other direction is a welcome change. 

And, while their given reason in the letter may be, in part, true, it is coincidental that Buzzfeed broke a story last week that took the FDA's press release a step further. They reported that Lyndsay Meyer, of the FDA, stated that, as part of their ongoing investigation into these homeopathic teething remedies, they have investigated 10 infant deaths and over 400 reports of seizures, fever or vomiting.

How can these homeopathic teething remedies cause death? The FDA reported in 2010 on the inclusion of the highly toxic plant belladonna (nicknamed "deadly nightshade") in Hyland's teething tablets. Upon testing, the results showed varying amounts of the toxic component. User error may also be a concern with teething remedies. When babies are teething, there is a lot of crying all night long. And, when parents are tired, it's difficult to remember how much of the teething gel was applied, resulting in its repetitive use without ever realizing how much is going straight into the baby's system. 

It should be said that no definitive cause and effect has been announced by the FDA as of yet. But, here's one way to think about it. If you use homeopathic teething remedies, maybe your baby won't die of belladonna poisoning. And, if you don't use them, your baby definitely won't die of belladonna poisoning.  Either way - the teeth are coming in and you probably won't sleep in either case. But, if the products are not on the shelves anymore - no one will die of belladonna poisoning.  

The last part of their letter reads, 

  • We are committed to setting the highest standards when it comes to caring for your children and grandchildren – and for our own. It’s the foundation of this company. It’s why we come to work every day. 

We have a reason to come to work every day too - to make sure that parents know that homeopathic teething remedies, such as those sold by Hyland's, are not to be trusted and should not be used.

Huh - maybe I can take tomorrow off?

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