Melatonin Overdoses Spike Among New York Kids
June 16, 2022 | Opioid Crisis
Mostly because of the mental effects on COVID-19 lockdowns, melatonin poisoning incidents have increased 600 percent.
Sales of melatonin, a hormone which regulates the body’s natural sleep cycle, have increased 150 percent since 2016.
Mostly because of impure ingredients in many melatonin pills, several countries, not including the United States, have banned over-the-counter melatonin sales.
In 80 percent of the overdose cases reported to poison control centers, the affected children showed no symptoms.
Others exhibited slow breathing, suicidal tendencies, and other potentially life-threatening side-effects.
One expert blamed the poisoning uptick squarely on lockdowns.
“Children were upset about being home, teenagers were closed off from friends. And on top of all that everyone’s looking at screens for hours and hours a day,” remarked Michigan children’s’ physician Dr. Karima Lelak.
Sleeping Pill Side Effects
Many parents of American teenagers assume that if a drug is readily available and/or available via prescription, it must be safe.
Moreover, many melatonin pills come in fruit gummy form, much like vitamins.
This belief is most definitely wrong. Today’s powerful sleeping pills have equally powerful side-effects, such as:
- Burning or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs,
- Changes in appetite,
- Balance problems,
- Daytime drowsiness,
- Dry mouth or throat,
- Constipation, and
These side-effects may seem rather mild, and for the most part, they are rather mild.
But a mild side-effect, like daytime drowsiness, could come at a very bad time for a teenager, like finals day.
Furthermore, as a general rule, the stronger the medicine, the stronger the side-effects. More on that below.
Additionally, if dosage exceeds recommended amounts, the side-effects will be worse.
Nearly all melatonin hospital visits are associated with overdoses. Only a few are associated with severe allergic reactions.
If your child suffers from severe melatonin side-effects, a New York personal injury attorney arranges for medical treatment that costs nothing upfront.
As a side note, phrases on a product label like “all natural” are usually little more than marketing terms. Always read the label.
Frequently, doctors either tell parents to give their kids melatonin, or they don’t tell parents not to give their kids this drug.
That’s especially true in the telehealth era, when doctors give advice to patients with whom they have no relationship.
Either way, the physician could be negligent.
Since the duty of care is so high in these cases, it’s easier for a New York personal injury attorney to establish negligence, or a lack of care.
This duty of care, a fiduciary duty, is the highest level of legal responsibility in New York law. If negligence causes injury, substantial compensation is usually available.
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Contributory negligence is probably the most common negligence defense, in drug overdose and other negligence cases.
This legal doctrine basically shifts blame for an injury from the tortfeasor (negligent party) to the victim (innocent party).
In some states, partial victim negligence torpedoes a damage claim. But New York is a pure comparative fault state.
Even if the victim is 99 percent responsible for an injury, the tortfeasor is legally responsible for a proportionate share of damages.
Usually, the hospital, clinic, or other organization that employed the doctor is the legally responsible party, because of the respondeat superior rule.
Defective Product Claims
Since the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate melatonin, as far as the companies that make these drugs are concerned, the sky’s the limit.
Incidentally, if you trust the FDA to protect consumers, that trust may be misplaced. Contrary to popular myth, this agency cannot recall dangerous products. It can only pressure companies to voluntarily recall them.
Specifically, for melatonin consumers, the lack of oversight means lax design and manufacturing procedures.
Melatonin manufacturers can easily sneak chemical ingredients into these products. A powerful chemical might be very low on the ingredient list. This placement suggests to parents that the additive isn’t harmful.
Manufacturers notoriously used the cheapest design available. Frequently, they also cut corners during the manufacturing and shipping process. Legally, manufacturers are responsible for any impurities that arise anywhere during this process.
Accidental drug overdoses usually aren’t entirely “accidental.” For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC.
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