These tablets are made from lactose and acacia gum to which has been added diluted components that cause sneezing, headache, runny nose and eyes.
Homeopathy works on the belief that “like cures like,” and that if you dilute something that causes the same symptoms that you have, it will magically neutralize these same symptoms. There is more about homeopathy here.
The science of cough and cold treatment for babies and toddlers is home care with fluids, rest, and a cool mist humidifier. These tablets won’t work much better than a placebo, although since they are lactose sugar pills, they are probably quite tasty!
If pediatricians had something that was safe and effective to treat little kids’ respiratory infections, we would make sure all our parents knew about it!
About Lisa M. Asta, MD
Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at WebMD.com, Rx.com, and MyLifePath.com. She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. BabyCenter.com currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta.
For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit www.LMAsta.com
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Do you feel the Hyland’s teething tablets are effective or feel they are basically a placebo pill also?
I’m not aware of a study that divided babies into two groups and gave one group teething tablets and the other group of babies plain, dissolving sugar tablets. If a study like that showed the babies with the homeopathic tablets were scored by parents/observers as having less pain and irritability, then the tablets could be considered effective. As things stand, they are probably closer to the placebo category. Babies like sugar—we know this from studies that show that sugar syrup eases the pain of blood draws, starting IVs and circumcision. Babies cut 20 teeth over two years, so always giving sugar tablets for teething pain isn’t very good for the teeth.