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Common remedy to be pulled from shelves amid overdose fears


A common remedy for teething and mouth ulcers will only be available from pharmacies from October after the medication watchdog changed its classification.

The Therapeutic Goods Association (TGA) has changed the categorisation of Bonjela Teething Gel and Bonjela Mouth Ulcer Gel from a Schedule 1 medication to Schedule 2.

That means they’ll be pulled from supermarket shelves over the next month, and the only way to get them will be from the chemist from October 1.

Coles and Woolworths have both confirmed they’ve ceased ordering the products and expect their current stock to run out by the end of September.

The TGA change has come about over a long-held concern around Bonjela’s active ingredient, choline salicylate.

Choline salicylate is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) which can lead to an overdose if used excessively or incorrectly.

A TGA spokesperson says it’s commonly used in other teething products.

“Other products for the relief of pain, inflammation and discomfort associated with mouth ulcers/sores and new dentures or braces also contain choline salicylate,” the spokesperson said.

“Substances in Schedule 2 may require advice from a pharmacist for safe use, which should be available from a pharmacy or, where a pharmacy service is not available, from a licensed person.

“From October 1, 2023, products containing choline salicylate for oromucosal use (administered via the mucus systems in the mouth) will be pharmacy medicines (Schedule 2).”

TGA medication Schedules go all the way to 10 — anything Schedule 4 or above needs a prescription, and 10 is for substances which are harmful and prohibited from sale or supply.

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