Pediatric ingestions with gummy formulated medications: a retrospective study

Academic Article


  • Context: Gummy formulations are widely available with estimated 65% marketed for children. Currently, there are few studies describing children ingesting gummy formulated medications. The aim of this study was to quantify and identify the type of ingestions due to gummy formulated medications, evaluate their clinical significance as defined by adverse outcomes: associated symptoms, emergency department (ED) visits, and hospitalizations. Methods: Retrospective study in children aged 0–19 exposed to gummy formulated medications from 2015 to 2017 as identified by calls made to the Regional Poison Control Center (RPCC). A list of potentially toxic gummy formulated medications was compiled and reviewed by medical and clinical toxicologists. We categorized medications into vitamins, minerals and supplements, melatonin, and other. Data collected included: medication name, number of units, age, sex, symptoms described, ED visit, hospitalization, and unintentional or intentional ingestion. Discussion: Of the 66,059 pediatric exposures received by RPCC, 1143 (1.7%) involved gummy formulated medications of which 1098 were analyzed. Median age was 3 years, 57.7% were males and 7% were symptomatic. Seventy-four percent exposures involved vitamins and 24% melatonin. In comparison to other gummy exposures, those who ingested melatonin had 8.4 times higher odds of being symptomatic (OR: 8.4, 95% CI: 5.1, 14) and 4.8 times higher odds of visiting ED (OR: 4.8, 95% CI: 2.5, 9). The predominant symptoms reported were drowsiness, gastrointestinal upset, and hyperactivity. Two patients were hospitalized who ingested multiple medications, one was unintentional, and one was intentional as a suicide attempt thus admitted for psychiatric stabilization. Conclusions: Gummy formulated medications comprised <2% of the total pediatric calls to the RPCC. Although, the occurrence of symptoms is rare, these medications especially those containing melatonin should be safely stored.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Crawford EB; Coco T; Gaines LD; Shah N; Slattery A
  • Start Page

  • 440
  • End Page

  • 444
  • Volume

  • 59
  • Issue

  • 5