Arch Dis Child 88:899-903 doi:10.1136/adc.88.10.899
  • Community child health, public health, and epidemiology

Medication for sleep-wake disorders

  1. G Stores
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor G Stores, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychiatry, University of Oxford, Park Hospital for Children, Old Road, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LQ, UK;
  • Accepted 12 December 2002


Medication is indicated for only a limited number of children’s sleep disorders. However, correctly chosen and supervised, pharmacological treatment may be justified and helpful. For a given sleep problem it is important to identify the underlying cause (or sleep disorder) which often calls for treatment of a non-medication type. Where medication is appropriate, cautious use and careful review of the child’s physical and psychological state is essential in view of the limited information available on effectiveness and possible short and long term effects. It follows that much further research is required to establish the part medication can play in the care of children with sleep disorders, and also to define the possible effects on sleep and wakefulness of other drugs used in clinical practice.