Background and Aim Melatonin is not licensed for children in UK. Limited evidence is available about its efficacy and safety. We assessed parents’ satisfaction with melatonin for treatment of sleep problems in children.
Methods 27 children who were prescribed melatonin by community paediatricians at Bedford, UK were randomly selected. Structured questionnaire was given to their parents.
Parents’ overall assessment of response to melatonin treatment - Good (63%), Average (33%), Poor (4%).
Analysis of age group of children with good response. 1–5 years (3 out of 3 children i.e. 100%), 6–10 years (7/12 i.e. 58%), 11–16 years (7/10 i.e. 70%), Over 16 years (0/2 i.e. 0%).
Effect on sleep when melatonin was stopped (in 18 children) - worsening (72%), same (28%), improvement (0%).
All the children had associated problems - 81% behavioural (autism, ADHD), 19% structural/chromosomal. 41% were in mainstream school, 55% special need school and 4% left school.
Improvement in behaviour secondary to improvement in sleep - yes (26%), No (74%).
Improvement in quality of life of parents secondary to fewer interruptions to their sleep - Yes (77%), No (23%).
Only 1 child had side effects including headache, confusion and tiredness while taking melatonin. He was on high dose of 10 mg/day.
Conclusion Most parents reported improvement in sleep of their children after being started on melatonin. Also majority reported better quality of life due to less interruption to their sleep.