Melatonin for Sleep in Children with Autism: A Controlled Trial Examining Dose, Tolerability, and Outcomes

Sleep Disorders Division, Department of Neurology and Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.
Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.06). 12/2011; 42(8):1729-37; author reply 1738. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-011-1418-3
Source: PubMed


Supplemental melatonin has shown promise in treating sleep onset insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Twenty-four children, free of psychotropic medications, completed an open-label dose-escalation study to assess dose-response, tolerability, safety, feasibility of collecting actigraphy data, and ability of outcome measures to detect change during a 14-week intervention. Supplemental melatonin improved sleep latency, as measured by actigraphy, in most children at 1 or 3 mg dosages. It was effective in week 1 of treatment, maintained effects over several months, was well tolerated and safe, and showed improvement in sleep, behavior, and parenting stress. Our findings contribute to the growing literature on supplemental melatonin for insomnia in ASD and inform planning for a large randomized trial in this population.

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Article: Melatonin for Sleep in Children with Autism: A Controlled Trial Examining Dose, Tolerability, and Outcomes

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    • "These findings have been challenged by a recent study that found normal endogenous melatonin secretion patterns in children with autism (Goldman et al., 2014). Nonetheless, clinical research suggests that melatonin intake might be a helpful component of intervention for children with autism (Cortesi, Giannotti, Sebastiani, Panunzi, & Valente, 2012; Malow et al., 2012). "
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    • "Two DNA samples were extracted from buccal swabs, the remaining 13 DNA samples were extracted from patient blood, using QIagen Puregene Ò chemistry on the Autopure Ò platform at the Vanderbilt DNA Resources Core. Eleven of these 15 children were subsequently enrolled in the melatonin trial (Malow et al. 2012) and were initially started on liquid placebo for 2 weeks to obtain baseline data (Table 1). Individuals were then treated with 1 mg of supplemental liquid melatonin (Natrol Ò ) for 3 weeks. "
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