Treatment of insomnia in children and adolescents with ASD
Severe sleep problems are highly prevalent (50-80%) in children with ASD. Disrupted sleep has a strong impact on the daily functioning in children with ASD leading to behavioral and learning problems at school. Sleep problems in children often trigger stress on the whole family with lower quality of life in parents and siblings.
Melatonin is involved in sleep initiation and regulation. Several studies have shown that especially in children with ASD a dysregulation in Melatonin metabolism is linked to their sleep problems. Therefore since more than 20 years Melatonin has been used as an off-label sleep medication in the treatment of sleep problems in children. Recently a newly developed Pediatric Prolonged-Release Melatonin has been studied in children and adolescents with ASD and sleep problems. It is the first study showing efficacy and safety of Melatonin treatment over a longer period of time (2 years).
The findings of this international clinical trial will be presented and alternative treatment options will be discussed.