Warnings have been given by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to not use Bonjela or Bonjela Cool mint gel on children.
The gels contain salicylate salts, which are found to have the same side effects as aspirin, which is also not advised for children under 16-years-old.
Complications include a rare but potentially fatal condition called Reye’s syndrome, which can develop into extreme liver and brain damage. When infants have been exposed to a viral infection, such as flu or chickenpox, they are more suceptible to the illness if exposed to aspirin.
Currently, there have been no cases reported of the illness after using the pain relief gel. The MHRA say that the warning only applys to the adult gel, and that Bonjela Teething Gel for infants is safe to use as it is a different formula.
Since April 16 this year, the MHRA have received three complaints of adverse drug reactions from children using oral gels which contain choline salicylate. Although none of the victims developed Reye’s syndrome, the agency have decided to issue a warning to parents against gels containing choline salicylate.
The agency said in a statement: “This is a precautionary measure only and there are no new safety concerns.”
They have also received four complaints from parents who say that Bonjela has caused vomiting or diarrhoea in children after use. The gel was used in most of the cases for teething pain, and all children have suffered no long term side effects.
Reckitt Benckiser, the manufacturer of Bonjela, say that their products will in the future be clearly labelled to be only used in children over 16-years-old. They issued a statement which said: “There have been no confirmed cases of Reye’s Syndrome associated with Bonjela or Bonjela Cool, which remain safe and effective treatments for adults and children 16 years and over.
“Reckitt Benckiser’s Bonjela brand… is the UK’s number-one-selling pain-relieving gel for mouth sores and has sold over 62 million packs in the last 40 years in the UK.”