July 28, 2009 — In response to a reported case of potassium bromide poisoning in an infant, associated with the use of a locally purchased teething product called Monell's Teething Cordial or "Cordial de Monell para la Dentición," the Health Department is urging all parents to beware of the product and other illegal health remedies. Immediate effects from potassium bromide ingestion may include sedation, trouble breathing, low blood pressure and coma.
Potassium bromide is a potent sedative found in Cordial de Monell, a product made in the Dominican Republic. The product is sold illegally in New York City and is typically used for teething discomfort, colic and gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, constipation and vomiting in infants. In April 2009, Castillo Distributor, Inc., distributor of the product, issued a nationwide voluntary recall. The company has since urged customers to discontinue the product's use and return it to the store where it was purchased.
"Illegal teething products can be dangerous for children," said Nancy Clark, Assistant Commissioner for the Health Department's Environmental Disease Prevention Bureau. "If your child has consumed any illegal teething product, whether bought locally, brought into the United States by a family member, or purchased over the internet, call the Poison Control Center at 212-POISONS (764-7667). The Call Center is there to assist regardless of immigration status and the service is available in multiple languages."
Advice for parents and caregivers:
- Stop using Cordial de Monell and keep it out of the
reach of children.
- Discuss treatments for colic and teething discomfort
with your health care provider.
- Beware of the potential dangers of using imported
health remedies as they may not be safe or FDA-approved.
- If at any time you suspect a case of poisoning or have a question about a possible toxic substance, call the Poison Control Center. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. English speakers can call 212-POISONS (764-7667) and Spanish speakers can call 212-VENENOS (836-3667).
For stores that sell Cordial de Monell:
- Do not sell Cordial de Monell or products that are not
approved by the FDA.
- Keep up-to-date on products recalled by the FDA and make sure they are not on your store shelves.
The Health Department will be working with distributors and storeowners to remove any illegal Cordial de Monell products from store shelves.
The Health Department is also alerting city healthcare providers about the link between Cordial de Monell and potassium bromide poisoning. If you suspect your child may have been poisoned, call the Poison Control Center at 212-POISONS (764-7667) or 212-VENENOS (836-3667) for Spanish speakers.