Parents won't be able to buy teething gels in supermarkets anymore as experts say they 'don't work'

That's because there's a lack of evidence that teething gels relieve pain in teething babies, health experts have warned.

Children's teething products containing the drug lidocaine, including Bonjela and Anbesol, will only be available in pharmacies from 2019 under new guidance from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

There are "very small" risks associated with using the products but they should only be used when non-medical options haven't provided pain relief, the health body advised.

A review into the products found there was a "lack of evidence" there's any benefit to using the gels in place of non-medical options like teething toys.

Instead a pharmacist of health care professional should provide guidance before the medicated gels are used.

The products that will no longer be available in the supermarket, only in pharmacies, include:

  • Anbesol Teething Gel
  • Anbesol Liquid
  • Bonjela Teething Gel
  • Bonjela Junior Gel
  • Boots Mouth Ulcer Gel
  • Boots Teething Gel 3 Months+
  • Calgel Teething Gel
  • Dentinox Teething Gel

Dr Sarah Branch, deputy director of MHRA’s vigilance and risk management of medicines, 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.

"We want to make sure you get the right information about teething.

"If your child continues to have problems with teething, talk to your pharmacist or healthcare professional about the best options."

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."

A spokesman for Bonjela said: "Bonjela is aware that the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has stated that treatments for teething pain containing lidocaine hydrochloride (a local anaesthetic found in some over-the-counter products) should be available as pharmacy only and in packs of 10 grams or less.

"Bonjela Teething Gel, which contain lidocaine, have been widely used by parents to soothe the pain and discomfort their children experience when teething.

"As of September 2018, Bonjela Teething Gel is no longer available as a result of a business decision to withdraw it.

"Bonjela Junior Gel continues to be available as a product for children over five months for the relief of pain from common mouth ulcers and denture irritation but will no longer be indicated as a treatment for teething pain in children.

"In line with the MHRA ruling, the packaging will be updated with the amended indication that the product can be used on children over five months for relief of pain from common mouth ulcers. "The packaging of bonjela Junior Gel will have warning that is not suitable for treatment of teething in children."

If you're worried your child has suffered any side effects from using a teething gel you should speak to a GP.

You can also report any products through the MHRA's yellow card scheme.

Teething gels for adults are not affected by this change.


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