Melatonin for perceived sleep disturbances associated with benzodiazepine withdrawal among patients in methadone maintenance treatment: a double-blind randomized clinical trial

Authors

  • Einat Peles,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dr Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse, Treatment and Research, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel,
      Einat Peles, Adelson Clinic, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, 1 Henrietta Szold Street, Tel Aviv 64924, Israel. E-mail: einatp@tasmc.health.gov.il
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  • Tal Hetzroni,

    1. Dr Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse, Treatment and Research, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel,
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  • Rachel Bar-Hamburger,

    1. The Israel Anti Drug Authority, Jerusalem, Israel and
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  • Miriam Adelson,

    1. Dr Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse, Treatment and Research, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel,
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  • Shaul Schreiber

    1. Dr Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse, Treatment and Research, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel,
    2. Department of Psychiatry, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Tel Aviv University Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv, Israel
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Einat Peles, Adelson Clinic, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, 1 Henrietta Szold Street, Tel Aviv 64924, Israel. E-mail: einatp@tasmc.health.gov.il

ABSTRACT

Aims  To evaluate the effectiveness of melatonin in attenuating sleep difficulties during benzodiazepine (BDZ) withdrawal.

Design  Double-blind cross-over control study.

Setting  Methadone maintenance treatment clinic.

Participants  Eighty patients enrolled at a community methadone maintenance clinic recruited to a BDZ withdrawal programme.

Intervention  Melatonin (5 mg/day) or placebo: 6 weeks one arm, 1 week washout, 6 weeks other arm.

Measurements  Urine BDZ; self-reported Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) questionnaires administered at baseline, and at 6, 7 and 13 weeks.

Findings  Sixty-one patients (77.5% in the ‘melatonin first’ condition and 75% in the ‘placebo first’ condition) completed 6 weeks of treatment, showing a similar BDZ discontinuation rate of 11/31 and 11/30, respectively. PSQI scores were significantly lower (indicating better sleep quality) in the 22 patients who discontinued BDZ (8.9 ± 0.9) than in 39 with urine BDZ (11.2 ± 0.7, P = 0.04). Sleep quality in patients who continued abusing BDZ improved more in the ‘melatonin first’ group than in the ‘placebo first’ group, with no differences in sleep quality improvement in patients who stopped BDZ.

Conclusion  Most improvement in sleep quality was attributed to BDZ discontinuation. Although melatonin did not enhance BDZ discontinuation, it improved sleep quality, especially in patients who did not stop BDZ.

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