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Melatonin for sleep disorders in visually impaired children

Khan S, Heussler H, McGuire T, Dakin C, Pache D, Cooper D, Norris R, Flenady V, Charles B
Published Online: 
9 November 2011

Melatonin is widely used for management of sleep disorders in children with poor or no vision. The current review planned to examine studies on the use of melatonin in these children to determine whether this drug is effective for improving their sleep (safety is not mentioned in objectives or abstract and adverse effects is a secondary outcome). We only wanted to use studies where the children had been randomly allocated to a treatment group and a control group that got no treatment or another medication or a placebo. We did not find any of these studies that were suitable to be included in our review and so we are unable to draw any conclusions about whether or not melatonin improves sleep for visually impaired children. To find out, we need appropriately designed clinical trials. Due to lack of knowledge about best practice in the use of melatonin with these children, it would be useful to have researchers involved who are experienced in sleep disorders and in evidence-based practice research. In addition, studies involving more than one location would be beneficial to increase the number of children being evaluated and make it more likely we will reach solid conclusions about whether melatonin works for this group of children, as well as details about the most effective dosage and timing of the treatment.