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Oral Melatonin for Non-Respiratory Sleep Disturbance in Children with Neurodisabilities: Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses

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JournalDevelopmental Medicine & Child Neurology
DateAccepted/In press - 27 Oct 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Feb 2019
Number of pages11
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness of pharmacological interventions for managing non-respiratory sleep disturbances in children with neurodisabilities. Method: We performed a systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We searched 16 databases, grey literature, and reference lists of included papers up to February 2017. Data were extracted and assessed for quality by two researchers (B.B., C.M., G.S., A.S., A.P.). Results: Thirteen trials were included, all evaluating oral melatonin. All except one were at high or unclear risk of bias. There was a statistically significant increase in diary-reported total sleep time for melatonin compared with placebo (pooled mean difference 29.6min, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.9–52.4, p=0.01). Statistical heterogeneity was high (97%). For the single RCT with low risk of bias, the unadjusted mean difference in total sleep time was 13.2 minutes (95% CI −13.3 to 39.7) favouring melatonin, while the mean difference adjusted for baseline total sleep time was statistically significant (22.4min, 95% CI 0.5–44.3, p=0.04). Adverse event profile suggested that melatonin was well-tolerated. Interpretation: There is a paucity of evidence on managing sleep disturbances in children with neurodisabilities, and it is mostly of limited scope and poor quality. There is evidence of the benefit and safety of melatonin compared with placebo, although the extent of this benefit is unclear.

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©2019 The Authors.

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