Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Gels have been linked to seizures, along with hundreds of reports of child injuries. The homeopathic products, intended to ease the pain of teething in babies, have already been blamed for 10 infant deaths. Similar products, including teething remedies manufactured by Orajel and CVS, are also implicated as the potential cause of seizures in children.
Homeopathic Teething Tablets Contain Deadly Plant
At the root of this issue is a plant called belladonna, the active ingredient in teething tablets and gels manufactured by Hyland, Orajel and CVS.
More commonly known as “deadly nightshade,” belladonna is frequently used in homeopathic remedies – despite being extremely toxic. In fact, the plant’s berries and leaves are “so toxic that eating a small quantity […] can be fatal to humans, particularly children,” according to Healthline. In Medieval Europe, murderers and executioners frequently relied on belladonna to carry out their killings. Now, homeopathic companies are marketing the plant for use in babies.
How Belladonna Causes Seizures
Atropine, a chemical derived from belladonna, is the real cause of harm, however. Along with another chemical, scopolamine, atropine is a dangerous neuro-toxic chemical found in the berries and leaves of the belladonna plant.
Both chemicals are anticholinergics, which means that they inhibit the parasympathetic nervous system. This network of nerves controls many of the body’s automatic, or unconscious, processes, including digestion, salivation and sexual arousal. Atropine and scopolamine cut these nerves off at the source, by blocking the action of a neurotransmitter crucial to triggering electrical signals in nerve cells. Seizures are a common result, especially when infants or adults receive too much belladonna.
It has been alleged that some homeopathic companies may not be absolutely precise when it comes to how much belladonna is being included in their products. Hyland itself came under federal investigation in 2010, with government authorities discovering that the company’s teething tablets contained “inconsistent” dosages of belladonna.
Symptoms Of Belladona Poisoning
Belladonna interrupts the parasympathetic nervous system, preventing the nerves from controlling involuntary activities, including breathing and heart rate. Seizures and convulsions, caused by abnormal surges in electrical activity in the brain, are among the most severe symptoms of acute belladonna poisoning.
Other common symptoms of belladonna poisoning include:
- dry mouth
- slurred speech
- dilated pupils
- light sensitivity
- blurred vision
- loss of balance
- increased heart rate
- difficulty urinating
As a group, these symptoms are known as anticholinergic syndrome. To date, the US Food & Drug Administration has received 400 reports of severe side effects in babies who were given homeopathic teething tablets or gels. Many of these reports have been consistent with belladonna poisoning.
FDA: Stop Using Hyland Teething Products In Babies
The FDA’s response to this latest public safety issue has been unequivocal. In an urgent warning letter, the federal health agency instructed caregivers to stop using homeopathic teething products immediately and throw out any remaining supply in the home. The manufacturer of these products, however, isn’t taking a similar stance.
While Hyland has decided to discontinue the distribution of its homeopathic teething treatments, the company has yet to issue a formal recall. The FDA does not have the authority to recall homeopathic products on its own, according to the New York Times. While the agency retains some regulatory control over homeopathic remedies, it does not evaluate the products for safety or effectiveness. That’s probably a good thing for the manufacturers of homeopathic products, since there may not be sufficient study results to prove how much real effect, versus a placebo effect, these remedies provide.
Homeopathic medications intended to treat serious diseases must be prepared and distributed by a state-licensed practitioner. Homeopathic products that are labeled for the treatment of “self-limiting conditions recognizable by consumers,” on the other hand, can be marketed and sold over-the-counter. Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Gels, along with the products made by Orajel and CVS, fall into this over-the-counter category.
Infant Teething Products & Homeopathy
Homeopathy is an alternative medical system based on the principle that “like cures like,” according to Ars Technica. Homeopathic products are made by taking poisonous substances, plants and minerals that cause symptoms similar to those being treated, and then diluting the toxins in water.
“The Law Of Minimum Dose”
To explain this dilution, practitioners point to the “law of minimum dose” – the idea that the lower a medication’s dosage, the more beneficial effects it will have. In homeopathy, less is more, but homeopaths have taken this logic to an extreme conclusion. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “many homeopathic treatments are so diluted that no molecules of the original substance remain.”
Proponents of homeopathy have an explanation for this odd fact, too. Homeopaths suggest that water molecules retain a “memory” of other substances, even after active ingredients have been diluted out. This dubious theory is proposed to explain how homeopathic remedies can “work,” despite the products themselves containing only trace amounts – or none – of the supposedly medicinal substance.
There is little evidence to suggest that any of these theories are true.
Hyland’s Teething Tablet & Gel Seizure Lawsuits
Hyland may be deeply committed to the principles of homeopathy, but these are principles that the National Institutes of Health appears to consider “inconsistent with fundamental concepts of chemistry and physics.” If the allegations are true, beyond having no clinically-relevant benefits, Hyland’s products may actually present a significant danger – especially to infants.
With hundreds of children sickened, and at least ten dead, some parents have begun to consider filing product liability lawsuits against the company. If your child suffered any side effects of belladonna poisoning, including seizures, after being given a homeopathic teething tablet, your family may be eligible to hold the manufacturer accountable.
To learn more about filing a lawsuit, contact our experienced child injury lawyers today for a free consultation.