Trial of Melatonin to Improve Sleep in Children With Epilepsy and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

2014-07-23 21:08:26 | BioPortfolio


The purpose of the study is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of oral melatonin in improving sleep continuity in children with epilepsy and neurodevelopmental delay who have chronic insomnia by comparing Fast Release Melatonin (FR MLT) to placebo and Timed Release Melatonin (TR MLT) with placebo in a randomized cross-over design trial.


Sleep disturbance in children is a universal concern. The prevalence of sleep disorders may be as high as 80% in children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. The majority of the parental complaints are with difficulty getting children to settle to sleep at night and stay asleep (insomnia).

Two recent studies comparing children with epilepsy to matched controls or to sibling controls both concluded that children with epilepsy have more daytime sleepiness that may be due to underlying sleep disorders, and significantly greater sleep problems than their non-epileptic peers.

Endogenous melatonin is thought to synchronize the sleep-wake pattern with the light-dark cycle of the normal day. Exogenous melatonin has been found to be effective in reducing sleep onset latency, increasing sleep duration, and increasing sleep efficiency in a meta-analysis of subjects with sleep disorders. The melatonin in fast release preparations is released quickly and has a short half-life of less than 1 hour. It is most helpful in decreasing sleep onset latency (the time to fall asleep). The melatonin in timed release tablets is released in a slower more sustained way and, in a small study in children with severe neurodevelopmental disabilities, was more useful for sleep maintenance.

Fast release melatonin has been shown to be effective in a study of children with multiple disabilities and in one trial in children with epilepsy. Further rigorous evaluation of melatonin is needed as the validity of these studies is limited by their lack of blinding, small sample sizes, and subjective methods of sleep-wake outcome evaluations.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Investigator), Primary Purpose: Treatment




Fast Release Melatonin (FR MLT), Fast Release Placebo, Timed Release Melatonin (TR MLT), Timed Release Placebo


The Hospital for Sick Children
M5G 1X8


Not yet recruiting


The Hospital for Sick Children

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-07-23T21:08:26-0400

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