Is baby teething gel just a waste of time and money?
London - Baby teething gels such as Bonjela will be taken off supermarket shelves after UK health chiefs said there was little evidence they worked.
From January 1 all teething products for babies containing lidocaine – a mild local anaesthetic – will only be available behind pharmacy counters.
Until now, the products, including Bonjela and Calgel teething gels, have been available from garages, supermarkets and corner shops.
But a review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has ruled that should change from next year.
The investigation was prompted by a warning issued by the US Food and Drug Administration, which found a lidocaine solution used as a pain reliever on teething babies’ gums could cause seizures and deaths.
Their review also found a "lack of evidence of benefit" from the products. It said they should only be used as a second-line treatment, after trying other methods such as teething rings.
The review said pharmacists should discuss these issues with parents before selling the products. It added: "Although many of these products have been licensed and marketed for a long time, high-quality clinical data supporting their efficacy in teething are not available."
The advice applies only to lidocaine gels designed for teething babies. Other Bonjela products are not affected.
Dr 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."
Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Bonjela, did not respond to a request for comment.Daily Mail