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Dr Marie Sartain
/ Categories: APhA News

Pediatric ED visits for unsupervised melatonin ingestion grow

A March 7 report in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) highlights the continued need to educate parents and other caregivers about the importance of keeping all medications and supplements—including melatonin gummies—out of children’s reach.

From 2019 to 2022, melatonin was implicated in 7% of all ED visits for unsupervised medication exposures by infants and young children, according to the MMWR report. Many incidents involved children ingesting flavored melatonin products like gummies.

“At least half of ED visits for melatonin ingestions involved flavored products (gummies or chewable tablets) that are frequently used by and might appeal to young children,” wrote researchers.

Approximately one half of visits for melatonin ingestions by infants and children involved children aged 3 to 5 years, whereas most visits for unsupervised medication exposures overall involve infants and children aged 1 to 2 years.

While few of the ED visits in the study resulted in hospitalizations, the report adds to the growing body of research about the concern with these products, which have grown in popularity.

A recent study of poison center calls found that 98% of pediatric melatonin exposures resulted in minimal or no effects, and increases in hospitalizations for pediatric melatonin ingestion coincided with increased use. Another recent investigation of melatonin products found that the actual content of the melatonin product was not always the same as the labeled ingredients or strength—something that could present additional risk.

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