Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 42, Issue 8, pp 1729–1737

Melatonin for Sleep in Children with Autism: A Controlled Trial Examining Dose, Tolerability, and Outcomes

  • Beth Malow
  • Karen W. Adkins
  • Susan G. McGrew
  • Lily Wang
  • Suzanne E. Goldman
  • Diane Fawkes
  • Courtney Burnette
Original paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-011-1418-3

Cite this article as:
Malow, B., Adkins, K.W., McGrew, S.G. et al. J Autism Dev Disord (2012) 42: 1729. doi:10.1007/s10803-011-1418-3

Abstract

Supplemental melatonin has shown promise in treating sleep onset insomnia in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Twenty-four children, free of psychotropic medications, completed an open-label dose-escalation study to assess dose–response, tolerability, safety, feasibility of collecting actigraphy data, and ability of outcome measures to detect change during a 14-week intervention. Supplemental melatonin improved sleep latency, as measured by actigraphy, in most children at 1 or 3 mg dosages. It was effective in week 1 of treatment, maintained effects over several months, was well tolerated and safe, and showed improvement in sleep, behavior, and parenting stress. Our findings contribute to the growing literature on supplemental melatonin for insomnia in ASD and inform planning for a large randomized trial in this population.

Keywords

MelatoninInsomniaActigraphyClinical trialChildren’s sleep habits questionnaireChild behavior checklistAutism diagnostic observation schedule

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beth Malow
    • 1
  • Karen W. Adkins
    • 2
  • Susan G. McGrew
    • 3
  • Lily Wang
    • 4
  • Suzanne E. Goldman
    • 1
  • Diane Fawkes
    • 1
  • Courtney Burnette
    • 3
  1. 1.Sleep Disorders Division, Department of Neurology and Kennedy CenterVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Sleep Disorders Division, Department of NeurologyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of PediatricsMonroe Carell Children’s Hospital at VanderbiltNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiostatisticsVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashvilleUSA