10 Reasons Why I’m NOT Tossing My Homeopathic Teething Tablets

The information provided in this post is for information purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

Have you heard about the FDA warning about homeopathic teething tablets? Here's my take on the whole thing and why I'm not tossing my tablets.

Have you heard about the issues surrounding homeopathic teething tablets, the FDA, and seizures?

Two days ago I saw that the FDA is recommending that parents not give their children Hyland's Teething Tablets or Gels, citing possible side effects — including seizures.

Pretty scary stuff.

So should you throw out your Hyland's Teething Tablets and Gels, or not?

Let's talk about this, but first let's start with the history behind the situation.

Hyland's History with the FDA

In 2010, the FDA started investigating Hyland's because of reports of side effects that were possibly related to the company's Teething Tablets and Gel.

The concern?  The FDA apparently had received complaints about side effects that parents observed in conjunction with using these products. The products had the homeopathic remedy Belladonna in them. Belladonna (which contains alkaloids) is the component of the plant that is sometimes associated with disconcerting side effects when used in large amounts.

The FDA inspected Hyland's facilities and found that sometimes there were variable amounts of belladonna in the products, so the company was asked tighten up its manufacturing process and implement a child safety cap to prevent the ingestion of too many tablets.

Now, in 2016, The FDA now says it is:

analyzing adverse events reported to the agency regarding homeopathic teething tablets and gels, including seizures in infants and children who were given these products, since a 2010 safety alert about homeopathic teething tablets. The FDA is currently investigating this issue, including testing product samples. The agency will continue to communicate with the public as more information is available. (source)

(Update 3/29/17: This is the previous link to the FDA article but it is not on their site anymore.  I am trying to find it. This is the information that was linked to the post – pulling through on social sharing when the link was posted: ”

Hyland’s Teething Tablets may pose a risk to children
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today is warning consumers that Hyland’s Teething Tablets may pose a risk to children. The FDA recommends that consumers not use this product and dispose of any in their possession. The manufacturer is issuing a recall of this product.
FDA.GOV

https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm230761.htm

So, without doing any testing, the FDA is telling parents not to use any of the Hyland's Teething Tablets or Gels, and to throw out any they already own.

I have spent hours researching this since the story first came across my desk and I have a bunch of thoughts that I am going to share with you today.

But mostly I am going to share with you why I am not throwing out my homeopathic teething tablets.

#1 – There Is No Proof

There is no proof that belladonna caused these seizures or any of the other reported side effects.

What we have, from all I can tell, is that parents reported seizures that happened around the time they gave these tablets and/or teething gels to their babies.

However, correlation does not mean causation.

Many times I suspected one thing as the cause of a condition only to later find out that I was wrong.

The FDA did its investigation back in 2010, and at that time there was no proof that the belladonna (or any other substance) in the tablets and gels was causing the reported side effects, and there still is no proof.

#2 – Too Little Belladonna

The amount of belladonna in the tablets is infinitesimal.

Apparently high amounts of belladonna can potentially cause seizures.  If you have seen the size of homeopathic tablets, they are very small, and this is the list of ingredients in the tablets:

Calcarea Phosphorica 6X HPUS
Chamomilla 6X HPUS
Coffea Cruda 6X HPUS
Belladonna 12X HPUS (0.0000000000003% alkaloids, calculated)

Other ingredients include acacia gum and lactose, N.F.

Here is Hyland's statement about the amount of Belladonna in their tablets: {emphasis mine}

Belladonna 12X HPUS is manufactured from the whole plant, of which a small portion is Belladonna alkaloids (the component sometimes associated with side effects). Each Teething Tablet (which weighs about 65 mg) is composed of 0.0000000000003% Belladonna alkaloids as stated on the label. As calculated, this means that each complete teething tablet contains only approximately 0.0000000000002 mg of Belladonna alkaloids.

The amount of Belladonna alkaloids in teething tablets is minuscule, especially when compared to conventional medicines that contain Belladonna alkaloids. To put the calculated amount of Belladonna in a Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablet into perspective, the 0.0000000000002 mg of Belladonna alkaloids is THOUSANDS OF TIMES below even the therapeutic amounts of Belladonna used in conventional anti-spasmodic medicines that doctors sometimes prescribe (0.2 to 5 milligrams of Belladonna alkaloids). The side effects (called anticholinergic side effects) sometimes caused by conventional medicines delivering more than 0.2 mg of Belladonna alkaloids – such as dry mouth, blurred vision and urinary retention – are not associated with homeopathic medicines because of their minute dosage.

…. a 10-pound child would have to accidentally ingest, all at the same time, more than a dozen bottles of 135 Baby Teething Tablets before experiencing even dry mouth from the product. Additionally, the body clears Belladonna alkaloids from any single dose in a matter of hours. Therefore, the Belladonna in the product would be very unlikely to build up in the system when taken as directed on the package label. Nonetheless, in the event of any accidental ingestion of a Hyland’s product, we encourage you to contact your own medical professional and/or poison control center immediately.

Could 0.0000000000002 mg of Belladonna alkaloids could cause a seizure in an infant?

#3 – FDA's Double Standard

When I told my family about the FDA's Warning about Hyland's Homeopathic Teething Tablets and Gels this morning, my oldest's response was “What about vaccines?!?!” If you haven't been reading my blog for awhile, you might not know that we think he suffered vaccine damage.

We are not anti-vaccine, but safety and testing for vaccines needs to be improved in a big way.

Here the FDA is up in arms about some seizures and other side effects, but meanwhile they allow loads of drugs, etc. with much worse side effect data than this to be on the market.

How about all of the seizures and deaths and other health issues that are attributed to vaccines, pharmaceutical drugs, and OTC meds?

1.  Benadryl has been shown to cause Alzheimers.
2. The government has paid out millions of dollars to parents for death and injuries due to vaccines. (source)
3. Harvard University even states here that taking any new drug is dangerous considering potential damaging side effects. (source)
4. For another example, here is a list of potential side effects of Baby Tylenol.
5. And here, from the CDC is a statement about the risks from the Chickenpox Vaccine: (source)

– Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
– Fever
– Mild rash or several small bumps after vaccination.

If you get chickenpox rash after vaccination, you can spread the disease to others. But, this is very rare. If you have chickenpox rash, you should stay away from people with weakened immune systems.

Seizure (jerking and staring spell) that may be caused by fever. Seizures after chickenpox vaccination may or may not be related to chickenpox vaccine.

Serious side effects from chickenpox vaccine are extremely rare. They may include severe brain reactions and low blood count. These side effects happen so rarely that experts cannot tell whether they are caused by chickenpox vaccine or not.

So why is the FDA not asking parents to refuse the chickenpox vaccine since there is a concern about seizures and brain reactions, but they are willing to make this recommendation about these homeopathic tablets?

#4 – Inaccurate Media Coverage

Some of the coverage in the media is misleading, which causes concern as it lends credence to the thought that this is not all based on fact.

For example, this article says the following:

Of particular concern was the ingredient belladonna, which researchers had linked to infant seizures in a 2014 study.

They mention a “study” done by researchers who linked the seizures to belladonna, but when you click on the link, you are taking to a report about 1 infant presenting w/ seizures, and there is no proven link of the belladonna to the seizures.

One report about one child is just a case study, but this article clearly implies that some kind of double-blind, placebo-controlled study. This is poor journalism.

It makes me wonder if there might be other inaccurate reporting surrounding this issue.

Have you heard about the FDA warning about homeopathic teething tablets? Here's my take on the whole thing and why I'm not tossing my tablets.

#5 – Other Possible Causes

The FDA recommends that consumers should seek medical care immediately if their child experiences seizures, difficulty breathing, lethargy, excessive sleepiness, muscle weakness, skin flushing, constipation, difficulty urinating, or agitation after using homeopathic teething tablets or gels.

However, these symptoms definitely could be attributable to other things, like vaccines, another illness, etc.

For example, vaccines can cause reactions even up to 14 days after the vaccine. (source)

Obviously, something else (including another ingredient in the tablets) might be the cause here.

#6 – FDA Pushing for Reports of Adverse Effects

The FDA has put out a request for doctors to turn in forms reporting adverse reactions to the teething tablets.

Do they do the same thing about vaccines?

Nope.

Why not?

Seems to me that they are eager to attribute blame to Hyland's, and as a result to homeopathy and alternative care in general.

#7 – Past Egregious Actions by the FDA

The FDA closed down a probiotic company due to health claims; meanwhile, they insisted that arsenic in chicken is totally safe, and they sent SWAT Teams to raid a raw milk facility.

I know that the FDA apparently doesn't want snake oil salesman taking advantage of the public. But perhaps we traded that for a society where we get duped by physicians and pharmaceutical reps and a multitude of drug commercials into buying things that line their pockets?

Besides, their information is not friendly to the whole food community. The FDA states that nuts aren't healthy and that walnut companies can't make claims about their product being heart healthy.  And that probiotic companies can't claim that their product really does a lot of good?  We know that these things are true and more and more science is backing us up.

It's time for the FDA to update its information and figure out how to monitor alternative medicine in ways that allow people to get healthier without buying toxic products.  Or perhaps let the free market settle these things.

#8  – Natural Alternative Recommendation

In the wake of this issue, the FDA now recommends that parents contact their physician to get recommendations for natural alternatives for teething pain.

This seems very odd to me — the FDA is recommending natural remedies?

Why not recommend natural remedies for allergies or the common cold–instead of Benadryl and Sudafed that we know cause many issues?  Why aren't they recommending that we throw these out and not use them?

How about the FDA recommending that parents ask their physicians for natural alternatives to antibiotics and OTC cold and allergy meds?

Why is the FDA  OK with other meds that have definite side effects but they're picking on Hyland's?

#9 – The FDA is Ignoring Scientific Data

So the 0.0000000000002 mg of Belladonna alkaloids is a big concern now, but the mercury in vaccines isn't?

There is scientific proof that mercury causes damage and is toxic to humans, even in small amounts.

There seems to be scientific proof that autistic babies do not detox mercury appropriately. (source)

So why is the FDA not telling doctors to not shoot mercury into babies, or at least not waiting to see if kids show signs of autism before shooting more mercury into them?

#10 – No More Teething :).

So this is kind of a funny reason, but I figured we could use some levity here.

One reason I'm not tossing my teething tablets is because teething is over in this house. Well, sort of.

My youngest has some teeth erupting and he's been complaining about them, so I would totally use the tablets now.

And if I had a baby now, I would have no concern about using homeopathic teething tablets. In fact, we are using more and more homeopathy now, which I hope to share about in the near future.

Conclusion

I can't tell you what to do, but I don't see this as holding water right now.  Just too many red flags.

However, as with anything, it is possible that I am wrong about this. So please make your own judgement about whether to use these products or not.

Perhaps, contrary to what many alternative medicine critics state, homeopathy is very powerful. Thus the belladonna, or some other homeopathic ingredient in the teething products, is causing a reaction.

Or perhaps there is more belladonna in these tablets than declared (though I doubt it). Even if there is, apparently it would have to be a huge amount to do any damage.

And of course, there are no studies on belladonna (or these tablets) on infants or children.  So possibly for some reason they are not appropriate for young children.

And I could be wrong about the FDA and their intentions.

What do YOU think?

Do you use homeopathy?
Do you think the FDA is right on or out of touch on this one?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

Comments

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  1. William Cates says:

    I would not be surprised to learn of a few intentionally tainted products used in an attempt to discredit homeopathy. I mean, we’re talking about money and homeopathy is a huge potential threat to Big Pharma profits. That’s my cynical view. Paid and unpaid skeptics of homeopathy claim that homeopathic products are made of such highly diluted substances they could not possibly be effective and are basically placebos. But now these skeptics will jump on the harm bandwagon which doesn’t quite fit with their fretting over dilutions in which the original molecules may be non-existant.

  2. My name is Roma. I have no connection with Whole New Mom. Over many years I have made a major change in my own personal thinking. I am totally anti-vaccine now. I wasn’t in my younger years because there was no information on them. Now there is, & I am!

  3. Michele Johnson says:

    I 100% agree with you.

    • Thanks and thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

      • Yes, I completely agree with you also. I looked online to see if there was info on when the children who were hurt last received vaccines because, a bundle of them are typically given around the time that babies teethe. I couldn’t find any info of course. Sad… but we can expect more of this most likely from Big Pharma.

  4. Thanks for your diligence on this and many other important matters to families. My kids treat our grandchildren with homeopathic teething tabs as needed. The FDA is not needed as long as they are bought and paid for by Big Pharma. I cannot trust their warnings or their recommendations. We will just have to rely on good sense, the Lord and dedicated health researchers such as yourself.

    • Thanks for commenting. I find the whole thing very troubling for sure – the influence of Big Pharma, that is. Thanks for the kind words and hope to see you around again!

  5. Totally out of place and agree with your article whole heartedly. We also use Hyland teethingredients tablets…with all four of my children. They are all fine my youngest is 13 months…

  6. I’ve come to love homeopathic treatment for my kids, ever since my youngest drove me to either want drugs for myself or for her after 2+ years of her not sleeping more than 20 minutes a stretch. I was confident at trying different sleep techniques with my other kids – they were all sleeping through the night by 7 months, but my sweet youngest (whom we’d adopted and was impacted by prenatal usage of drugs and alcohol) was super over-stimulated and what I tried could help her relax into natural sleep rhythms. After 2 years, I’d reached my fatigue limit. I was really off to get medication for one one us and a naturopath friend suggested I first try “Hylands Calm Forte 4 Kids” tablets. I did. By the second night (having given her a tablet 30 minutes before 7:00 bedtime), she fell asleep and got up at 7 am the next morning. Same thing every subsequent night after, with the bonus that she then learned how to nap 2+ hours every afternoon. Until she was 5 she still did (!), though I’d ditched the Hylands after 2 months of usage as she had figured out her own rhythm. Anyway, all that to say that Hylands homeopathic tablets (not the teething ones, as I wasn’t clued into those until later), helped save me that desperate year when I was at my wit’s end. No nasty medication necessary, no side-effects, no further damage to my then-stressed marriage as we were such sleep deprived parents! And since that time, I’ve had as much confidence in homeopathics as FDA approved things (often more, as yes, corporations and government agencies are so connected – they really don’t care about my family’s needs so much as they care about big money). So way to defend Hylands and other homeopathic treatments so well – an important article to have written.

    • Hello Annie and thanks for commenting and for your kind words. I have used the Calms Forte as well – many times it has helped me. So glad they helped you. My son had horrible sleeping issues when he was very small due to allergies. It is terrible when child and mom can’t sleep. Hope to see you around again!

  7. Shirl Bennett says:

    I have birthed 7 children and My eldest child is now 48 years of age and I have been using homeopathic sand herbals for over 40 years! All my children’s ailments over the years have been successfully dealt with using homeopethic treatments! At one stage 6 of my children came down with measles and each child had different symptoms! Our naturopath paid us a home visit and diagnosed a different remedy for each child according to their symptoms, same when they all came down with chickenpox! I will always recommend alternate remedies! My first child had antibiotics on and off till he was about 4 but has not had any since! My other children have never had antibiotics, and my youngest is 28. 3 of my children were immunised and suffered on and off minor health issues when they were young but my last 4 were not immunised!! I have 13 grandchildren and their parents treat their children homeopathicly! I only know what worked for me and the experiences that I have witnessed using alternate remedies, and I feel it is a choice,,and responsibility,, that as a parent, is yours to make and with hold!

    • That is really encouraging. I have been just getting more into homeopathy over the past year. It’s confusing but very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  8. I think the FDA is being pressured by the pharmaceuticals and is grasping at straws. Drugs are a big money maker. I do not have children but I have used other homeopathic remedies for over 15 years and have NOT been to a Dr. in all that time. Any crisis that came up I handled with essential oils and homeopathic remedies, tapping and other energy shifting techniques. Shame on them for using scare tactics on less knowledgeable people. I agree with your concluding comments but I feel that those things are unlikely to be the case. I

    • Hi Bonnie. How interesting to hear about your success with homeopathy. As I mentioned I am looking into it more and more and find it to be very confusing but also compelling. The concept of such small amounts of things helping is perplexing but I am open to it. Hahnemann’s history is fascinating. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  9. Vivian Harbaugh says:

    Hyland’s teething tablets are very good. They work much better than numbing gel. And the cost is very reasonable.

    The above statements is the clue as to why the FDA is behaving the way it is. There is less money in the pocket of their masters and they jump at the chance to discredit this product.

  10. Great article! And good for you for not stopping usage of the teething product.

    Basically, if the FDA says to stop the usage of any natural product (without concrete independent unbiased testing), I’m of the mind that it’s because that product works too well! And as we know the FDA doesn’t like people using, or even knowing about, natural products that actually work and don’t lead to greater illness. Where would they get all of their under the table kick backs then?

    Thanks,

    Tasha

  11. According to what I’ve read about homeopathy, They take something that would cause a symptom; dilute it down a lot and give it to a person to alleviate that symptom.
    Since Belladonna was added to a teething remedy, I assume it was to relieve pain. Since it was diluted down
    to 2 billionths or less ( too many zeros to figure accurately quickly) I cannot see it causing a seizure in a baby.
    And since this was reported in 2010 and lots of babies have been using those homeopathic tablets since then and there have not been any other reports of seizures from them; the chances of your baby having a seizure from them is 1 in a billion or 1 in a trillion MAYBE. And that’s if the FDA is telling the truth. Which seems a problem for them.

  12. Thanks for this post, I’m sure you might get a lot of negative comments so I think it’s honorable of you to address this issue! I’ve used Hyland’s on my son and know lots of other parents who use them too. I got an automated call from the store I purchased the tabs at advising me to discard them and that they would take them off their shelves out of ‘an abundance of caution’. My first thought was, ‘well, I hope I’m stocked up.’ I think a lot more harm is done to children with infant tylenol, ibuprofen, and the alike compared to any homeopathic. I think the whole thing stinks to high heaven too. There are actually documented cases of children being harmed by conventional over the counters…and this is ‘supposed’ so it really annoys me.

    • You are so welcome. Thanks for the kind words, Anna! I do think that it’s “possible” that something is wrong w/ the tablets, because of course we can’t be sure of much these days, but I do think it’s all very odd. Take care and hope to see you around again!

      • I love your articles. I am a mother of two, number three on the way, almost 6 and almost 2. Teething tablets saved my sanity and sleep on more than one occasion with both. And so do with my toddler. I have issues with the FDA above and beyond this crap. What about formula and the things that are doing up with powdered formula? Have they investigated that? Even though my hubby is going to school to be a pharmacist he is totally board with my homeopathic ways. We love hylands and essential oils and all things natural. Although we respect that there is a time and a place for big pharma, they need to take a chill pill.

        • Thank you so much. Sadly, did you notice that Hyland’s has pulled the teething tablets and gel? It happened, I believe, the Monday after I wrote this article. :(. I wonder if this is going to be hard for your husband – I have a friend who is training to be a pharmacist and he is not as natural minded, but he had many issues with things going on.

  13. We used Hyland’s teething tablets with all our kids (17, 25, 29 & 30). All healthy, smart kids. Teething tablets saved my life more than a few times. Oldest son actually climbed up on the cabinet (used 4 drawers as steps & got them off the top shelf of the cabinet) and ate about a 1/2–3/4 of a bottle. Since poison control would tell me to use ipecac, I called WF where I purchased them. They told me if I was lucky, he would take a nap. No such luck. 😉 I saw the FDA recommendation and chuckled. I am not real impressed with the FDA. When my kids start having kids, yeah, teething tablets and colic tablets will be included in baby gifts. Oldest and his wife are in the medical field but he has a childhood with homepathic remedies and essential oils, so hopefully that will also help balance it out.