Homeopathic remedies don’t cure, and they can harm
I’ve posted before about homeopathy and homeopathic remedies. In short, they don’t work. There is absolutely no sound scientific evidence that supports homeopathy.
Related post: A homeopathic parody
At best they’re a waste of money; at worse, homeopathic remedies may be harmful, especially to infants and small children.
In recent months, certain homeopathic remedies for teething babies have been targeted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
These products, Hyland’s Teething Tablets and Hyland’s Teething Gel, contain very small amounts of a well-known poison—belladonna or “deadly nightshade.”
How can poison be a medicine, you might ask??
In general, homeopathy embraces the theory that very small, very dilute solutions of noxious substances can actually be helpful. (This is a gross simplification. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides more information on homeopathy.)
Infants are vulnerable
The minuscule amount of belladonna in these products wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem.
Homeopathic remedies, like herbs and supplements, are pretty loosely regulated by the FDA. Manufacturers do not need to prove either safety or effectiveness. The FDA only steps in after a product has been reported to be unsafe, or the manufacturer makes false health claims about the product.
It’s very easy for parents to accidentally overdose infants with these products. Parents don’t always read dosing directions and may give the tablets or use the gel much more frequently than advised. Especially if it’s late at night, the baby is crying and the parents are exhausted!
Because homeopathic remedies are not manufactured under strict FDA guidelines, the amount of an active ingredient, such as belladonna, may actually be higher than listed on the label. It might be lower, too, or there may be no active ingredient at all!
The bottom line is that infants and very young children are especially vulnerable when it comes to dosing of ANY medication. Talk to your child’s caregiver before using over-the-counter medications, and ALWAYS read and follow the directions!
Related post: Kids’ health – Avoid medication errors
By the way, after several product-safety alerts from the FDA, and retailers pulling the products from their shelves, Hyland’s is no longer selling its teething tablets or teething gel in the US.