Pediatric melatonin ingestion spikes over last decade, CDC says
The number of children reported to ingest melatonin, a sleep hormone, increased fivefold nationwide each year between 2012 to 2021, according to a new CDC study.
The study monitored a total of 260,435 melatonin ingestions among children, of which 94.3% were accidental. Nearly 83% of these children were asymptomatic. However, 4,097 children required hospitalization during the 10-year period and 287 required intensive care. Two children died.
The agency noted there was considerable variability in melatonin content across products and discrepancies with label claims. CDC said public health efforts should concentrate on raising awareness of the risks of melatonin intake, including gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and central nervous system problems. Sales of melatonin rose by approximately 150% between 2016 and 2020. The largest yearly increase in pediatric melatonin ingestions occurred between 2019 and 2020, corresponding with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when total ingestions rose nearly 38%. CDC recommended the use of child-resistant packaging and health care provider warnings to parents about the potential harmful effects of melatonin exposure.