Homeopathic products can be found in the aisles of almost every pharmacy. However, this past year, one group of these products - homeopathic teething remedies for babies - found itself more and more in the news and less and less on the shelves.
It started in September, when the FDA warned to stay away from homeopathic teething remedies. With that announcement, CVS pulled a subset of this type of product made by Baby Oragel, Hyland's and CVS, off of their shelves with other stores following suit. Soon after, Hyland's stated in an open letter on their website that they will "discontinue the distribution of our Hyland’s teething medicines in the United States." Lastly, within the last month, more products were removed from stores, this time reaching beyond homeopathic teething products to also include 'ear relief' liquid as well.
So, why are these homeopathic products disappearing this year when there have been reports going back many years of babies suffering from adverse health effects at the hand of these products, including "seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation?"
Undoubtedly, it has to do with the unexpected death of ten infants, and the suspected link between those deaths and the use of these products.
At the heart of the illnesses and deaths is the ingredient belladona, also called 'deadly nightshade.' This plant-derived compound is known to be unsafe when taken orally and can certainly be lethal, even in small amounts.
When the homeopathic teething products were tested by the FDA, they were found to contain varying amounts of the belladona compound which is, to be frank, terrifying. Because homeopathic products are not FDA approved, we not only don't know what is in them - we definitely don't know how much is in them. That is, not until enough babies die in order to start an investigation.
As we stated in one of our past articles covering this topic - here is 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.
We can only hope that the remainder of these products will be gone by the time the holidays roll around next year.
For more on this topic, read our coverage from this past year.
Many more articles on homeopathy can be found by searching our website.