Concern over US melatonin poisonings in children

1 November 2022

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recently issued an advisory warning about the use of melatonin in unregulated sleep supplements, particularly in relation to children and adolescents.

This warning responded to a CDC study released in June that highlighted an increase in paediatric poisonings from melatonin ingestion of 530% between 2012 and 2021. While they were mostly accidental, there were also concerns about attempted suicides among adolescents. 

Regulatory controls on melatonin are tighter in Australia than the US, however over-the-counter melatonin supplements are still available. This has led to some recent media coverage featuring ASA member, Sarah Blunden, in The Conversation, Nine Newspapers and newsGP.

The ASA’s Clinical Committee discussed the issue last week, noting that the association doesn’t currently have a position statement on the use of insomnia supplements in children. The Clinical Committee noted the differences in regulation of melatonin between Australia and the USA, and will prepare a short position statement on the topic to inform any media requests for comment.