A growing number of adults have started using a popular children's diarrhea medicine as a remedy for hangovers, a new report says.

According to marketing research firm Nielsen, consumption of the oral electrolyte Pedialyte among adults has increased by about 60 percent since 2012, accounting for one-third of the total sales of the drug.

Heather Mason, Abbott Laboratories' executive vice president, said the significant increase in the sales of Pedialyte has reached a historical average of 10 to 15 percent. Abbott Laboratories is the manufacturer of the medication.

While Pedialyte was initially designed as medication for children suffering from diarrhea, the drug has also been used by athletes for rehydration. This has made the oral electrolyte solution a direct competitor to Pepsi Co.'s Gatorade.

Recently, however, students on college campuses have also started drinking Pedialyte to remove the adverse effects of hangovers. This trend has provided Abbott with an opportunity to market Pedialyte as an antidote for such conditions.

During the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, an event known for heavy alcohol drinking among adults, Abbott announced through Pedialyte's Twitter account, "#CincoDeMayo #rehydrate."

The company now plans to hand out free samples of Pedialyte in 144 music festivals and sporting events around the country, including Atlanta and New York.

"There's an underground movement in social media to drive word of mouth," Mason said.

"We saw increased use by adults. We have high electrolyte and lower sugar content than common [hydration] beverages. That combination caused us to say, 'We need to be part of this.'"

Mason added that Abbott will team up with celebrities who are known to drink Pedialyte in order to promote the product as a hangover remedy. She said the singer and music producer Pharrell Williams is one of the celebrities they are eyeing to be an endorser of the product.

Abbott's move to promote Pedialyte as a competitor to Gatorade is met with criticism from analysts who claim that the company will find it difficult to market the oral electrolyte solution.

"It would be pretty tough to find Pedialyte in the 7-Eleven," Deutsche Bank Managing Director Bill Schmitz said. "The Pedialyte demographic is the mom or dad looking for something handy in the medicine cabinet."

Despite this, Abbott is decided on their new marketing strategy for their product.

Mason said the company is set to introduce larger packs of Pedialyte's powdered formulation for adult customers. They will also add new flavors for adults such as orange and strawberry lemonade.

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