Melatonin effective for some sleep disorders

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  • Clinical Question: Is melatonin effective for insomnia and other sleep problems?
  • Study Design: Meta-analysis (randomized controlled trials)
  • Setting: Outpatient (any)
  • Synopsis: The authors of this systematic review evaluated the role of melatonin in the treatment of different types of sleep problems in different types of patients. They performed a thorough search of the literature though they limited the research to English-language publications. Potential research was screened by 2 independent reviewers and the data were abstracted by 1 reviewer and then checked for accuracy by another. They included controlled clinical trials and reviewed all studies for quality using the established Jadad criteria.


Bottom Line

Melatonin in doses from 0.1 mg to 10 mg is effective in helping adults and children who have difficulty falling asleep. It is particularly helpful in patients whose circadian rhythm is permanently off-kilter (delayed sleep phase syndrome). It increases sleep length, but not sleep quality, in patients who perform shift work or who have jet lag. (LOE=1a)

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