Present addresses: South Birmingham PCT, Birmingham, UK;
Randomized controlled trial of melatonin for children with autistic spectrum disorders and sleep problems
Article first published online: 9 AUG 2006
Child: Care, Health and Development
Volume 32, Issue 5, pages 585–589, September 2006
How to Cite
Garstang, J. and Wallis, M. (2006), Randomized controlled trial of melatonin for children with autistic spectrum disorders and sleep problems. Child: Care, Health and Development, 32: 585–589. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2214.2006.00616.x
- Issue published online: 9 AUG 2006
- Article first published online: 9 AUG 2006
- Accepted for publication 12 January 2006
- autistic spectrum disorder;
- sleep problem
Background Melatonin is often used for autistic children with sleep disorders, despite a lack of published evidence in this population.
Methods A randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind crossover trial of melatonin was undertaken in 11 children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).
Results Seven children completed the trial. Sleep latency was 2.6 h [95% confidence intervals (CI) 2.28–2.93] baseline, 1.91 h (95% CI 1.78–2.03) with placebo and 1.06 h (95% CI 0.98–1.13) with melatonin. Wakings per night were 0.35 (95% CI 0.18–0.53) baseline, 0.26 (95% CI 0.20–0.34) with placebo and 0.08 (95% CI 0.04–0.12) with melatonin. Total sleep duration was 8.05 h (95% CI 7.65–8.44) baseline, 8.75 h (95% CI 8.56–8.98) with placebo and 9.84 h (95% CI 9.68–9.99) with melatonin.
Conclusions Although the study was small owing to recruitment difficulties, it still provides evidence of effectiveness of melatonin in children with sleep difficulties and ASD, which we predict a larger study would confirm.