Benzocaine warning helps Hyland's sales

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Last year the Food and Drug Administration warned parents against using the ingredient benzocaine in children to relieve oral pain. Children under the age of 2 years who are teething and given benzocaine should be under the supervision of a doctor, the agency warned.

"Benzocaine is a local anesthetic and can be found in such over-the-counter products as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase," the agency stated. "But the use of benzocaine gels and liquids for mouth and gum pain can lead to a rare but serious — and sometimes fatal — condition called methemoglobinemia, a disorder in which the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream is greatly reduced."

Yet the category is still up slightly by 1.5% to $187.1 million across U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 30, according to SymphonyIRI Group.

Hyland's is certainly a direct benefactor of that news with sales up 96.9% to $12.2 million. A homeopathic remedy, Hyland's has a strong following of mommy-bloggers who collectively swear by Hyland's teething tablets and more recent teething gel. "We're building off of the success that we've had over many years with Hyland's teething tablets, colic tablets and other items specifically formulated for babies," Hyland's president Dale Nepsa told DSN.

Church & Dwight has responded to the FDA warning with the launch of benzocaine-free Baby Orajel Naturals, a homeopathic remedy.


The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Analgesics Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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