Melatonin Products’ Popularity Surges in US, Prompting Safety Concerns for Children!

The popularity of Melatonin products is currently growing in the USA
The popularity of Melatonin products is currently growing in the USA. Credit | iStock

United States: In one of the latest studies, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that in the US, the number of adults using melatonin products has been rising considerably.

It has been demonstrated in studies within the last few years that these cases surpass 11,000 across the US with regard to children seen as emergency room patients after preparing the consumption of melatonin-supporting products insufficiently or even intoxicating the children, of course.

More about Melatonin

Melatonin, a hormone generated by the brain when stimulated by darkness, ultimately regulates the natural sleep-wake cycle of the body, also termed as circadian rhythm.

Melatonin products are generally offered as sleep pills and sold in the market as flavored gummies. It helps anyone struggling to fall asleep, the reason being jet lag or sleep-wake disorders, which are commonly seen in shift workers, CNN Health reported.

Findings of the new report

The researchers of the CDC and US Consumer Product Safety Commission noted cases where children under five years and younger were taken to emergency rooms from 2019 to 2022 after ingesting Melatonin without any supervision.

The researchers who investigated nearly 300 individual instances, estimated that about 10,930 visits to an emergency department took place through this period, being responsible for about 7 percent of all ER visits in the US involving unsupervised exposure of medication to infants and young children.

More than half of the accidental ingestions were by children aged three to five, and the majority of the cases did not require interaction with additional medication.

The kind of Melatonin consumed was not mentioned during most of their visits, according to the report, but children usually swallowed the product.

Concerning data on emergency department visits where the dosage form was clearly specified, researchers estimated that nearly 5,000 patients might have been involved in melatonin gummies use.

As per the CNN Health reports, Melatonin supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The findings of a recent study were published in the journal JAMA, revealing – a total of 25 products were labeled as melatonin gummies that contained potentially harmful levels of the hormone, whereas others contained no melatonin and contained only cannabidiol or CBD.

CDC researchers stated, “These discrepancies in ingredients or strength could pose an additional risk” to children.

Parents living with kids need to be cautious

While the emergency department visits were taken into account with documentation of the melatonin container, around 75 percent involved bottles, which indicated that young children could open the bottles that were not properly closed.

The adults taking these products and residing at their homes with young children are advised to buy melatonin products that have child-resistant packaging, as urged by the researchers.

On the other hand, the report’s surveillance data tends to be limited in relation to the fact that there is the absence of any “narrative” data procured by the emergency department during their visits, as CNN Health reported.

As an example, the product aimed at age was stated in half of cases in which consumers visited a website for vitamins and the media, so the selling of melatonin products was probably higher than was mentioned.

Evaluating unguided instances of suspected melatonin poisoning during emergency department visits, which is likely not to detect the occurrence of Melatonin poisoning millions of children five and younger across the nation, the researchers contend.

Rising use of Melatonin by US adults

Visual Representation

A striking rise in the use of Melatonin by US adults has been observed since the early 2000s, which the CDC cited as a fact. The elevation was witnessed around the same period that ER visits expanded by over 420 percent due to melatonin overdoses by infants and minors under supervision between 2009 and 2020.

Moreover, more studies must be conducted to ascertain whether the supervised use of Melatonin is safe for children or not. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a division of the National Institutes of Health, assured that melatonin consumption is “safe for most children for a short-term use,” but it notes that they are unsure about how much Melatonin is considered appropriate for children and whether its benefits outweigh its possible side effects.

Side-effects on children – Experts

Some of the melatonin side effects children may experience are drowsiness, headaches, nighttime activity and increased bed-wetting or urination at nighttime, as noted by the NCCIH. The possibility of reactions with medications, that at times are given to the kids for their allergic reaction may also occur.