Benzocaine products should not be used in children under two years of age

Health Canada is reminding parents and caregivers not to use products containing benzocaine in children under two years of age. Benzocaine products may cause a serious blood condition called methemoglobinemia (MetHb), which reduces the ability of red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body. Over-the-counter (OTC) products that contain benzocaine are used in children and adults for the temporary relief of minor pain from a variety of conditions, including: sore throat, toothache, canker sores, and mouth or gum irritation. In the past, OTC benzocaine products were also used to treat teething pain.