Children under the age of 16 should not be given mouth ulcer and teething treatments containing salicylate salts, British experts have warned.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MRSA) says there is a theoretical risk that these products could cause a serious condition called Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease that causes damage to many of the body''s organs.
Salicylate salts have the same effect on the body as aspirin, which experts have already warned should not be used by kids. However, MRSA said that the advice was precautionary, as no cases had been recorded.
The MHRA has received reports of three children being hospitalised after using oral gels containing choline salicylate.
However, Reye's syndrome was not confirmed in any of the cases.
In a further four cases, children experienced vomiting or diarrhoea after using Bonjela for teething pain, but all made a full recovery.
The MHRA stressed there were a number of alternative treatments for pain associated with teething and mouth ulcers.
It suggested parents to seek advice from a GP, dentist or pharmacist if unsure what to do.
Dr June Raine, MHRA director of vigilance and risk management of medicines, said the new advice brings these products into line with others containing aspirin. "Any risk from these oral gel products is theoretical. We are not aware of any confirmed cases, but when there are alternatives available, any risk is not worth taking," the BBC quoted her as saying.