The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week met to discuss the pros and cons of “candy-like” nonprescription medications such as gummies, NBC News reports. Many speakers stressed potential pitfalls of these products, such as accidental overdose.
Some of the products are meant for children who cannot, or won’t, swallow pills. Two public health officials presented data about the recent increase in emergency room visits for exposure to pediatric melatonin, some of which comes in the form of gummies for kids. In June 2022, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report that found during 2012-2021, the annual number of pediatric ingestions of melatonin increased 530%, with a total of 260,435 ingestions reported.
A CDC representative spoke about the agency’s recent efforts to improve child-resistant packages for medications, STAT reports. These include installing “flow restrictors” in medicine bottles. This makes it more difficult for children to quickly dump a number of pills into their hand.
“Children will get into anything, and children will especially get into anything that tastes or looks like candy,” said Dr. Theresa Michele, who leads the FDA’s office of nonprescription drugs.