When suffering from gum, teeth, and mouth pain, many Americans turn to over-the-counter products containing Benzocaine for relief. Unfortunately, these products are now linked to a serious and life threatening condition called methemoglobinemia. Unfortunately, Benzocaine products are commonly used in children, who are much more susceptible to injury from the product.
What Is Benzocaine?
Benzocaine is a white, odorless powder used in ointments as a local anesthetic. Local means it affects only the area to which it is applied and an anesthetic is a substance that reduces sensitivity to pain. Benzocaine is used in many over-the-counter gels and ointments including:
- Baby Orajel
- Zilactin B
- Pro Jel
- Caine Tips
These products are commonly applied to the gums, inside of the cheeks, tongue, and mouth to ease pain. While many adults use Benzocaine products, parents also use them to help ease teething pain in young children. However, using these products in teething children has proven extremely dangers.
FDA Releases Safety Warning
In May 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a safety warning to consumers that Benzocaine products are linked to a rare condition called methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia occurs when the amount of oxygen carried in the blood is greatly reduced, causing serious damage. While over-the-counter Benzocaine comes in varying concentrations, methemoglobinemia has been reported with all concentrations, including those as low as 7.5%. Many cases are occurring in children under two years of age, but adults have suffered from methemoglobinemia in higher concentrations as well.
Symptoms of methemoglobinemia include pale, gray, or blue colored skin, lips, and nail beds, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion, headache, lightheadedness, and rapid heart rate. Unfortunately, the symptoms don’t always appear immediately and can take several hours after application to manifest, making it more difficult to diagnose and treat. While some individuals suffered methemoglobinemia after the first application, others didn’t develop the condition until after additional uses.
Patients Weren’t Warned Of The Risks
As consumers, we expect the products we take to ease our pain to be safe, particularly when they are of the over-the-counter variety. Patients have a right to be informed about all risks related to medications so they can make informed decisions about their health care. Manufacturers of Benzocaine products need to be held accountable to the people injured by their products.
If you or someone you love used a Benzocaine products and suffered from methemoglobinemia, contact Blizzard Law today immediately for a free consultation. We can explain your legal options and pursue compensation on your behalf. Call our Benzocaine lawyers today.