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Children’s Medicines Recalled Over Potentially Poisonous Belladonna Content

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Three over-the-counter homeopathic medicines for children, two of which bear the brand name CVS, have been recalled because of undetermined amounts of potentially poisonous belladonna content in them.

According to Raritan Pharmaceuticals, test results from the US Food and Drug Administration showed varying amounts of belladonna compared to the volumes specified in the following: 135-tablet bottles of CVS Homeopathic Infants’ Teething Tablets in lot Nos. 41116 and 43436; 0.85-ounce bottles of CVS Homeopathic Kids’ Ear Relief Liquid, lot No. 35254; and 0.85-ounce bottles of Kids Relief Homeopathic Ear Relief Oral Liquid, lot No. 33149.

The Sacramento Bee reports that CVS announced its own recall of teething tablets back in September after the FDA issued a blanket warning on the dangers of homeopathic children’s teething tablets and gels. The teething products did not require FDA approval, and were reported to cause health problems in infants who used them.

Homeopathic treatments focus on “natural” approaches to healing, and such products often contain herbs, plants and other similar ingredients.

Raritan says it produces the remedies for Homeolab USA, which supplies them with the belladonna mixtures. Despite meaning “beautiful lady” in Italian, Raritan’s recall notice states that the plant is “a substance that can cause harm at larger doses.” It also went on to say that, “The company is voluntarily recalling the product out of an abundance of caution.”

Belladona, the full name of which is Atropa belladonna, is also called deadly nightshade. It is in the same family as tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants, and is native to North Africa, Europe and Western Asia. The leaves and berries of the plant are extremely toxic, as they contain tropane alkaloids that cause hallucinations and delirium. Belladona is known for its unpredictable effects when ingested.

Despite this, belladonna has been widely employed as a medicine, cosmetic and also as a poison throughout history – a tradition that continues in its use as an ingredient in homeopathic remedies today.

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