teething ring
Photo: flickr/cantaloupe99

Products containing lidocaine used for teething in babies and children will be sold only in pharmacies from 2019, said a communication from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Pharmacists are best placed to provide guidance and support when babies and children are teething or if there are concerns about babies’ health, MHRA added.

The agency advised parents and caregivers to use these medicines only when non-medicinal options do not provide necessary relief.

The advice follows a review which also recommended that the administration instructions and safety warnings should be updated.

The MHRA review concluded there is a lack of evidence of benefit to using products containing lidocaine for teething before non-medicinal options. Evidence of any risk associated with these products is very small given the wide usage of these medicines.

Teething is a natural process and lidocaine containing teething products such as teething gels should only be used as a second line of treatment after discussion with and guidance of a pharmacist or a healthcare professional, it added.

Sarah Branch, Deputy Director of MHRA’s Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines Division, said: “Our review showed there is a lack of evidence of benefit to using teething gels. To help babies and children with teething, parents and caregivers should try non-medicine options such as rubbing or massaging the gums or a teething ring.”

Ash Soni , President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said: “It’s natural for parents to be concerned if their baby is experiencing discomfort with sore gums when teething. Your local pharmacist can provide parents and caregivers of teething babies with expert advice and recommend the best course of treatment. Your pharmacist is always a good first port of call for any common condition your child develops.

“It’s advised that you give a teething baby something to chew on like a teething ring that’s been in the fridge but, if that isn’t enough, then your pharmacist can give you expert advice about using a teething product containing lidocaine and how to use it safely.”