Tags: melatonin | children | insomnia | sleep | risky

Melatonin Risky for Children: Study

Friday, 27 February 2015 12:07 PM


Although it may be tempting to give a child who can't sleep a dose of the natural sleep aid melatonin, an Australian research team says this could lead to problems as the child grows older.
 
Melatonin is produced in the body at bedtime thanks to the internal body clock -- called the circadian rhythm -- that manages our sleep-wake cycles in 24-hour periods.
 
Melatonin supplements are widely used by those who have trouble sleeping and are particularly useful for travelers who toggle between time zones as an easy means to doze off without losing their day.
 
"The use of melatonin as a drug for the treatment of sleep disorders for children is increasing and this is rather alarming," says Professor Kennaway Head of the Circadian Physiology Laboratory at the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute.
 
Although the drug is registered as a treatment for primary insomnia for people over the age of 55 in Australia, Professor Kennaway says it's easy to obtain a prescription for your child for off-label use.
 
"Melatonin is also a registered veterinary drug which is used for changing the seasonal patterns of sheep and goats, so they are more productive for industry," says Professor Kennaway. "If doctors told parents that information before prescribing the drug to their children, I'm sure most would think twice about giving it to their child."
 
In his paper, which was published in the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, Professor Kennaway cited evidence from prior studies that melatonin spurs changes in the cardiovascular, immune and metabolic systems in addition to animal reproduction.
 
According to Professor Kennaway, who has been studying melatonin for 40 years, not enough is known about the effect of supplements and no research has been done to assess how it interacts with other drugs that are frequently prescribed to children.
 
"Considering the small advances melatonin provides to the timing of sleep, and considering what we know about how melatonin works in the body, it is not worth the risk to child and adolescent safety," he says.
 

© AFP/Relaxnews 2021


Health-News
Although it may be tempting to give a child who can't sleep a dose of the natural sleep aid melatonin, an Australian research team says this could lead to problems as the child grows older. Melatonin is produced in the body at bedtime thanks to the internal body clock --...
melatonin, children, insomnia, sleep, risky
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2015-07-27
Friday, 27 February 2015 12:07 PM
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