Belladonna, colic treatment: NSW Health urges parents not to use treatment

Health experts warn that Australian babies are becoming ill more often than ever before after being given a potentially toxic colic medication.

NSW Health has announced that an increasing number of newborns and infants are being admitted to doctors and emergency departments with suspected anticholinergic syndrome.

The syndrome may be influenced by belladonna, a potentially toxic anti-colic agent.

Colic is described as long periods of excessive and unexplained crying.

The syndrome “can occur after taking an ‘anti-colic drug’ purchased online that contains belladonna,” NSW Health warned.

Belladonna is a poisonous plant that can be harmful to babies and young children even in small doses.

“Physicians should be particularly alert for belladonna poisoning in newborns, infants and young children with symptoms of anticholinergic syndrome who have taken anti-colic medications,” NSW Health said.

Signs and symptoms of the syndrome include: flushed skin, dry skin, dry mouth, dilated pupils, increased heart rate, urinary retention, gastrointestinal problems, increased temperature, restlessness, drowsiness, flaccidity, poor feeding, and occasionally seizures.

The New South Wales Health Department warns that babies can become ill within 30 minutes to four hours of ingesting the poison.

Parents across Australia are urged not to take any medications containing this plant.

Queensland Health has also warned the public to be cautious about the drug.

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