Topical Pain Relievers 101

Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that is used to relieve pain. It can be found in most drugstores, usually under the product names Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase. Benzocaine has been associated with 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.

Because of that association, the Food and Drug Administration recommends that parents and caregivers not use benzocaine products for children younger than 2, except under the advice and supervision of a health care professional.

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