Spike In Melatonin Overdoses Has Parents Worried About Gummies

Melatonin has risen in popularity as a way to help people get some sleep but that has also led to a spike in parents thinking their kids have overdosed on the gummies, 1200 WOAI news reports.

Calls to poison control centers increased 530%, from 2012 to 2021, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"This might be related to increased accessibility of Melatonin during the pandemic, as children spent more time at home because of stay-at-home orders and school closures," the CDC report said.

But experts say that parents should not be concerned. Dr. Shawn Varney is the Medical Director of the South Texas Poison Center

"Melatonin is extremely safe. Our bodies make Melatonin," he tells 1200 WOAI's Michael Board. "This is a synthetic type of Melatonin but it is safe."

The Medical Toxicologist with U-T Health San Antonio says that anything can be taken to the extreme. But, in the case of Melatonin, an overdose is extremely unlikely, even if a kid crams a handful of gummies into their mouth.

He says, the worst thing that can happen is an upset stomach. And that's not from the Melatonin itself. These gummies, he says, are packed with sugar.

"You get too much in your belly or intestines, you're going to get a little bit of diarrhea or some belly pain."

That, he says, is not enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. If parents are worried, he says they should call the Poison Control Hotline. They'll likely tell them to stay home. A trip to the hospital would only be warranted, he says, if the child's breathing is effected.

Melatonin sales rose 150 percent in the U.S. between 2016 and 2020, according to the CDC.

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