Homeopathy is widely (and rightly) regarded as quackery. But an ongoing FDA investigation into homeopathic teething tablets and gels for infants is attempting determine if these products led to seizures and deaths, Buzzfeed reports.
The FDA warned parents back in 2010 about products sold by Hyland’s homeopathic teething products, which were found to contain belladonna (also known as deadly nightshade), a plant that has historically been used as both an analgesic and a poison. That same warning was extended to products from CVS “and possibly others” on September 30th. And now, it seems use of this baby snake oil might lead to 400 reports of adverse effects.
CVS voluntarily recalled their products, as well as similar ones made by Hyland’s and Orajel when FDA issued the second warning. Hyland’s waited until yesterday to discontinue theirs, issuing a non-apology:
It is therefore with much sadness that we share with you that we have chosen to discontinue the distribution of our Hyland’s teething medicines in the United States. This decision was made in light of the recent warning issued by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels. This warning has created confusion among parents and limited access to the medicines. [...] We are confident that any available Hyland’s teething products, including those you already have, are safe for use.
Online retailer Amazon is, at the time of this writing, still making both Hyland’s and Orajel’s homeopathic teething products available for purchase. Meantime, we’ve reached out to the FDA for further information and will update if we hear back.
Update 10/12/16 3:21pm EDT: “The FDA is still in the preliminary stages of our investigation and we have not completed analyses necessary to request a recall,” an FDA spokesperson told Gizmodo over email. “We have no timeline to share.”
The spokesperson also made sure to clarify that, much like dietary supplements, the administration “does not approve homeopathic drugs.” The following statement was supplied:
In April 2015, FDA announced that it was reevaluating its regulatory framework for [homeopathic] products and held a public hearing to obtain information and comments from stakeholders about the current use of drug products labeled as homeopathic, as well as the Agency’s regulatory framework for such products. FDA sought broad public input on the current enforcement policies related to drug products labeled as homeopathic in an effort to better promote and protect the public health. FDA has received over 9,000 comments to the public docket and is in the process of reviewing them. The agency is continuing to consider whether and how to adjust the current enforcement policies.