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Keywords:

  • Child and adolescent;
  • insomnia;
  • sleep disorder;
  • melatonin

Background:  There is a paucity of research on professionals’ and parents’ views on melatonin use in children and adolescents with sleep problems.

Method:  A two-stage survey was employed. First stage: Child psychiatrists and community paediatricians working in a health district were surveyed. Second stage: Parents/carers of children currently on melatonin under the care of these clinicians completed questionnaires.

Results:  Eighty-seven per cent of the participating clinicians prescribed melatonin, with most of them prescribing melatonin for chronic and treatment resistant cases. Differences in prescribing practices between child psychiatrists and community paediatricians were noted. All children were prescribed either 3 mgs or 6 mgs melatonin. None of them experienced any significant side effects.

Conclusions:  This research highlights that clinicians recognise melatonin as an effective treatment of childhood insomnia and parents value its usefulness too.