Since 2010 controversy surrounds Hyland’s Homeopathic Teething Pills and Gel and
Humphrey’s Homeopathic Teething Tablets. Labeling inconsistencies led to a full-blown homeopathic teething recall stemmed from “truth in advertising” infractions according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. In September 2016 The FDA issued severe warnings against using these products, namely Hyland’s Teething Tablets, as they could potentially cause seizures. The manufacturers vehemently deny that their products are unsafe, especially when taken according to packaging directions or on the advice of a physician.
What is Homeopathy?
Most organisms strive for a sense of balance or equilibrium called homeostasis. “Homeo” is the root word meaning “similar to” and “pathy” is the suffix meaning “feeling or suffering”. The term “homeopathy” was first coined by a German Scientist, Samuel Hahnemann in 1789. While it was not widely popular and historically denied as real medicine, practice success and word of mouth testimonials helped the remedy gain popularity. Into modern days, homeopathy has consistently been recognized as a worthwhile medical pursuit. Homeopathy is “a system of medical practice that treats a disease especially by the administration of minute doses of a remedy that would in larger amounts produce in healthy persons symptoms similar to those of the disease” the goal of which is to return a person’s body to a state of health and balance. These treatments are derived from plants, minerals, or animals and ultra diluted through very specific processes. While homeopathy is considered a medical practice, many champions of modern medicine consider the practice unsafe and deceptive.
There are obviously many differences between modern and traditional medicine. Primarily, traditional or “alternative” medicine considers the whole person or animal and modern medicine focuses primarily on the disease or abnormality of concern.
Why were Humphrey’s Homeopathic Teething Tablets Recalled?
Even though Humphrey’s homeopathic teething tablets were the basis of a class action lawsuit settled in 2013, the tablets were never actually recalled. Hyland’s homeopathic teething tablets, on the other hand, were recalled in 2010 due to one of the ingredients; belladonna. Belladonna is a plant that contains chemicals known to be toxic to humans. It even features unfortunate nicknames like ‘Devil’s Herb’ and ‘Deadly Nightshade.’ The claim was made that due to inconsistent amounts of belladonna, the remedy was simply unsafe. In response, Hyland’s introduced a slew of new safety measures. They offered child resistant caps, manufactured varying strengths of the medicine, and conducted thorough evaluations of their production processes considering updated FDA guidelines for homeopathic remedies. The company maintained to this day that their product was always safe.
While Humphreys teething remedy is no longer available and does not list the active ingredients on the website, Hyland teething tablet ingredients are listed clearly on their website. The product is no longer being distributed in the United States but does list ordering information. Both companies maintain that their products were always safe, especially when taken as directed according to packaging. Both companies also provide substantial information on the practice of homeopathy and other homeopathic remedies.
So is the issue at hand Hyland Teething Tablet ingredients, labeling, or something else? The answer to that question lies in your perspective. There are those who argue that homeopathic remedies and all alternative medical practices are outdated and likely dangerous. Of course, those who believe in different alternative medicine practices such as homeopathy argue that modern medicine has its roots in natural treatments and should be at least considered along with more modern practices. And then of course there are the dishonest, the misinformed, and the “snake oil salesmen” who do indeed manufacture false and dangerous claims that their product will cure everything from a bad hair day to major illness like cancer. It would seem that no one would be taken in by such false claims in the 21st century; unfortunately those who suffer a great deal will sometimes hang their hope on anything that offers relief. Those who are dishonest in their claims are the primary reason for mistrust by scientists and consumers.
What Does the FDA Say Now?
In September of 2016 the FDA issued a warning against the use of homeopathic teething tablets and gels. They are currently testing the products for efficacy and investigating the claims made by some consumers that their children suffered adverse reactions ranging from “constipation” and “skin flushing” to “seizures” and “difficulty breathing”.
So, are there currently any legitimate claims against Hyland’s regarding these Teething Tablets? As of January 2016, according to one source the class action suit against Hyland’s and its parent company, Standard Homeopathic Company, is still pending. The action accuses “false advertising” and Hyland’s strongly denies this claim.
Is there a logical conclusion? The only realistic conclusion is for the consumer to gather all of the information they can from reputable sources, weigh it against their own understanding and that of their trusted medical team, and make the very personal decision for themselves as to how to best handle their own health maintenance and treatments.