Illinois Woman Files Lawsuit over Baby Medicine Side Effects

Illinois Woman Files Lawsuit over Baby Medicine Side EffectsSt. Louis County, Illinois resident Christine Bushman recently filed a lawsuit against Church & Dwight over its over-the-counter toothache medication for infants, according to the Lake St. Louis Patch.

The news source reports that the lawsuit centers around Church & Dwight's Baby Orajel PM and Baby Orajel Nighttime formulas, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said is linked with a rare condition known as methemoglobinemia.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology, methemoglobinemia is a blood disorder during which "an abnormal amount of hemoglobin builds up in the blood." This potentially fatal condition can make it so that hemoglobin cannot effectively carry oxygen to body tissues.

The lawsuit, which is seeking more than $5 million in damages, accuses the manufacturer of marketing the product as both effective and safe without offering a warning about the potentially serious side effect linked to benzocaine, its active ingredient, according to the news source.

"The ultimate goal would be to get the company to include a warning (about the risk of methemoglobinemia) on its product," an attorney for the plaintiff explained.

Filed in the Federal Court of the Southern District of Illinois, the suit also aims to obtain class-action status, as the attorneys believe there are tens of thousands of customers that likely would not have purchased the product had they known about the serious risks it has been associated with.

"The FDA has warned of the association of methemoglobinemia and benzocaine use since as early as 2006, and studies linking the two existed prior to that time," the lawsuit claims.

Other teething drugs that include benzocaine and were named in the warning issued by the FDA were Anbesol, Hurricaine and Orabase.