Roundup: FDA to Parents: Don't Use Homeopathic Teething Tablets, Gels; Concussion Diagnoses Soar Among Young Athletes

For new parents, sleepless nights are common and made worse by a teething baby who cries non-stop. That’s why many parents turn to over-the-counter “natural” treatments that claim to provide some relief.

Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers against using homeopathic teething tablets and gels because they may pose a health risk to infants and children that include seizures and difficulty breathing. The FDA recommends that “parents stop using these products and dispose of any in their possession.”

Homeopathic teething tablets and gels are distributed by CVS, Hyland’s, and possibly others, and are sold in retail stores and online.

The FDA states that parents should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences the following after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels:

  • seizures
  • difficulty breathing
  • lethargy
  • excessive sleepiness
  • muscle weakness
  • skin flushing
  • constipation
  • difficulty urinating
  • agitation

“Teething can be managed without prescription or over-the-counter remedies,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “We recommend parents and caregivers not give homeopathic teething tablets and gels to children and seek advice from their health care professional for safe alternatives.”

The FDA said it is reviewing cases of babies suffering adverse effects after being administered homeopathic teething tablets and gels, including seizures in infants and children who were given these products since a 2010 safety alert was issued. The FDA is also testing product samples.

Homeopathic teething tablets and gels have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or efficacy. The agency says it is not aware of any proven health benefit from the use of these products, which are labeled to relieve teething symptoms in children.

The FDA encourages healthcare professionals and consumers to report adverse events or quality problems experienced with the use of homeopathic teething tablets or gels to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

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Concussion Diagnoses Soar Among Young Athletes

Concussion diagnoses jumped a striking 71 percent for patients ages 10 through 19 from 2010 through 2015, according to a report by the health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, based on data from medical claims nationwide.

The concussion rates increased most steeply among girls, with the diagnoses soaring by 119 percent during that time. However, the rate of concussion diagnoses can be seasonal based on school schedules for football and other sports. For example, concussions in young males in the fall are nearly double that of young females.

The report concedes that the striking jump in cases is partly due to a growing awareness of these injuries among parents, sports officials and physicians, which has led to more diagnoses. Nonetheless, the increases are so steep that they indicate more young athletes in school sports programs are seeing head injuries than in the past.

Concussion diagnoses across all ages increased 43 percent from 2010 through 2015 in the U.S, the insurer’s study found.

The BCBS data for 2015 also found that patients ages 10 through 19 in some states have nearly a three times higher rate of concussions diagnosed compared to other states.

“The intent of this report is to document concussion diagnosis rates and increase awareness that could help inform policy and concussion treatment practices for school districts and medical professionals,” the report states.

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