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Did Teething Tablets Harm Your Child?

Written by Berkowitz

teething toddler

Malpractice Attorneys Serving Victims of Homeopathic Injuries throughout Connecticut

Parents with a teething baby will do anything they can to relieve their child’s discomfort. Naturally, they want a treatment that is safe, but also effective. To stay safe, most parents reach for homeopathic remedies, because they are supposedly made from all-natural ingredients, do not contain harsh chemicals, and are supposed to be safe for their infant in pain.

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

A lawsuit has been filed against the manufacturers of homeopathic teething tablets by consumers who purchased these remedies. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already issued a safety warning about these remedies.

About the FDA Warning

The FDA issued a warning that homeopathic teething tablets and teething gels may have been responsible for over ten infant deaths and 400 serious adverse events. The benefits of the teething tablets – those published on the product’s packaging and the company’s website – have never been scientifically proven or confirmed by the FDA. Also, the FDA has never evaluated these teething relief products for their safety.

Now, the federal agency is advising against the use of all homeopathic treatments to relieve teething pain in infants and small children.

Teething tablets mentioned in the FDA warning include:

  • Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablet
  • CVS Homeopathic Infants Teething Tablet
  • CVS Homeopathic Kids’ Ear Relief Liquid
  • Kids Relief Homeopathic Ear Relief Oral Liquid

Starting in September 2016, the FDA began warning parents and caregivers to no longer use these types of tablets, gels, and other homeopathic remedies to relieve pain. It was revealed that these products were marketed by companies like Hyland’s, Orajel Naturals, and more. They linked the homeopathic products to several events that have been reported to the agency since 2010.

The FDA noted in their warning that the health benefits associated with these medications have never been scientifically proven nor approved by the FDA. Consumers who purchased the products were urged by the FDA to take their children to a provider immediately if they exhibit some of the adverse reactions, which include:

  • Lethargy
  • Breathing problems
  • Excessive fatigue or sleepiness
  • Irritation
  • Urination problems
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Weakness
  • Constipation

Also, the FDA’s warning prompted certain retailers to stop carrying the tablets and gels, including CVS, which was urged to remove all such products from its shelves. Hyland’s announced that they would stop marketing their products in the United States after the FDA warning was issued, and they also announced a teething tablet recall in 2010 after their product was linked to other adverse events that were caused by belladonna toxicity. Testing of the affected tablets revealed that some of the children formulas had inconsistent amounts of this highly toxic substance, which could be poisonous in large volumes.

In 2016, another company that produces homeopathic teething relief products, Raritan Pharmaceuticals, announced their recall of teething tablets and ear relief liquids because they too may have inconsistent levels of belladonna. As of now, Raritan’s products have not been linked to any injuries like those of Hyland’s brands.

What Are Homeopathic Treatments?

Homeopathic medicine is a type of medicine often referred to as homeopathy. It was founded in the 19th Century by a German doctor. For a treatment to be homeopathic, it must rely on three distinct principles:

  1. The treatment must apply to the law of similar. A disease must be cured by a medicine that creates symptoms similar to the complaint. Therefore, a homeopathic provider will do an in-depth interview to assess all symptoms the patient has, and then find a homeopathic treatment that produces similar symptoms to create balance.
  2. A single remedy. One single remedy from the homeopathic treatment should be able to cover all symptoms and complaints from the patient, including physical, emotional, and mental complaints.
  3. A minimum dose is used. Homeopathic medicine believes that less is more; therefore, only small doses of the homeopathic treatment are used.

Homeopathic treatments are highly controversial compared to modern medicine. The practice believes that the body may heal itself using the small amounts of the substance that causes similar symptoms; thus, training the body to overcome the symptoms.

Homeopathy has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Some practitioners also offer homeopathic treatments for minor physical injuries, such as muscle tenderness, back aches, chronic pain, and sprains.

The FDA has not proven the effectiveness of any homeopathic treatment, and these treatments are based on theories – not scientific facts. The treatments are so under-monitored and controversial that in November 2016, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced their intentions to start reviewing the claims made by the makers of homeopathic remedies. After all, these remedies are notorious for offering cures and solutions without the backing of scientific research or clinical studies.

Today, the FTC requires all homeopathic treatments to properly label their products and notify the public that:

  1. There is no scientific evidence that the product works; and
  2. The product’s cure claims are based on theories that are not accepted by today’s medical experts.

Not the First Teething Tablet Lawsuit

This is not the first product liability lawsuit that Hyland’s has encountered. In fact, in January 2016, Hyland’s was sued for misleading consumers about their homeopathic infant care products. On their packaging, they state that the products were effective, safe, and natural. However, the products contained varying amounts of synthetic ingredients (i.e., not natural ingredients), and some of the synthetic ingredients used were associated with developing chronic, serious issues. Hyland’s even settled a similar lawsuit in 2016 regarding their teething tablets in California.

The Issue of Oversight and Homeopathic Treatments

The biggest reason why these injuries occur is because the FDA does not regulate anything within the homeopathic industry. Instead, these homeopathic manufacturers must only meet the standards set by other homeopathic practitioners, not the federal government.

A product could essentially be sold in the United States with claims of a cure, but not be required to have scientific evidence, clinical trials, or any proof whatsoever that the product actually does what it says.

Some of the products used to generate homeopathic medicines are very dangerous – especially when consumed in large quantities. For example, belladonna, poison ivy, aconitum, and strychnine are safe when diluted properly.

There have been complaints about the dilution practices within these manufacturing plants, including:

  • Products are not diluted properly, which caused severe toxicity. Some have even lost their smell after receiving high doses of zinc.
  • A patient may be allergic to the active ingredient.
  • The patient could have an allergic reaction to the synthetic materials used to create the medication.
  • Heavy metals may have been used in the product, and when not diluted, this can lead to toxicity.
  • Some homeopathic products use honey in the dilution to make the product taste sweeter, but children under 12 months should never have honey.
  • Some homeopathic treatments are diluted with alcohol.

Could You File a Suit Against a Physician Who Prescribes Homeopathic Treatments?

A practitioner of homeopathy is just as liable as a modern medical provider. However, the issues of law may be different. If the patient is seeking medical treatment, and that practitioner offers his or her services as medical treatments, then the patient may be able to file a malpractice lawsuit against the physician for prescribing harmful treatments or using them as part of his or her practice.

In this case, it is best to consult with a malpractice attorney. The line between negligence and alternative medicine is quite blurry; therefore, an attorney should assess the case and determine the proper route for seeking compensation.

Filing a Suit Against Manufacturers of Homeopathic Medications

While the makers of these homeopathic teething tablets and other ailment cures are not regulated, they still owe a responsibility to consumers who purchase the products. When they make claims about their products that are not scientifically backed by research – and the products also cause serious illnesses or death – they are just as liable as a pharmaceutical company releasing medications regulated by the FDA.

If a homeopathic teething tablet or gel injured your child, or you were injured by another homeopathic medicine, you could be entitled to compensation.

How to Hold Manufacturers and Homeopathic Practitioners Responsible

The first step is to contact an attorney. A personal injury attorney who specializes in defective products and malpractice is best, because he or she practices in the area of law that focuses on modern medicine, as well as alternative medicine treatments.

During your initial consultation, discuss the treatments you received with your attorney. Also, bring the bottles of the medications that you think caused your injury or adverse effects. Then, bring along your medical records, as well as records from the homeopathic practitioner (if you saw one).

For your homeopathic injury lawsuit, contact the liability attorneys at Berkowitz and Hanna LLC. Our attorneys can help assess whether you have a case against the product manufacturer or the physician who prescribed the treatment.

Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.