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Pilot Study of Melatonin and Epilepsy

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Identifier:
First received: August 24, 2009
Last updated: June 17, 2014
Last verified: June 2014

The prevalence of epilepsy is 1% in the USA. About 30% of epilepsy patients eventually become refractory to medical treatment. Co morbid conditions are becoming as important as seizure control as these affect overall wellbeing. Sleep related complaints are frequent in them including, frequent arousals, difficulty falling asleep and excessive daytime sleepiness. Polysomnography shows increased arousal index, sleep onset latency, and stage shifts and fragmented REM sleep. Poor sleep efficiency causes daytime fatigue, poor cognition and behavior and can worsen seizure control. Stabilizing sleep may improve seizure control. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body involved in the regulation of circadian rhythm and exogenously given, has been shown to decrease sleep onset latency, arousals, and there-by increase sleep efficiency in healthy pediatric patients. Similar data does not exist in the patients with epilepsy. As sleep has important impact on epilepsy and overall functioning, it is important to study effect of melatonin in children with epilepsy.

We propose a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial with a cross-over design. Our hypothesis is that, for patients with epilepsy, administration of melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime for four weeks may:

  • Improve the quality of sleep;
  • Improve daytime functioning in terms of cognition, behavior and quality of life;
  • Decrease epileptic potential. We will use polysomnography, electroencephalogram, psychomotor vigilance task, seizure diary, and questionnaires to assess the effect of melatonin on these domains. This study may help to improve the care of children with epilepsy.

Condition Intervention Phase
Drug: Melatonin
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Melatonin and Sleep in Patients With Epilepsy

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Increased sleep efficiency on polysomnography (PSG)and improved lapse time on psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) [ Time Frame: 13 weeks ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Improvement of epileptiform discharges on EEG and seizure frequency [ Time Frame: 13 weeks ]

Enrollment: 10
Study Start Date: June 2011
Study Completion Date: May 2013
Primary Completion Date: May 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Melatonin
Subjects will take sustained release melatonin 30 minutes prior to bedtime for four weeks
Drug: Melatonin
Sustained release formula (Brand: Jigsaw); dosage will be 9mg for all subjects.
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Subjects will take a placebo 30 minutes before bedtime for four weeks
Drug: Melatonin
Sustained release formula (Brand: Jigsaw); dosage will be 9mg for all subjects.

  Show Detailed Description


Ages Eligible for Study:   6 Years to 11 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 6-11 years (prepubertal based on tanner staging)
  • Patients with epilepsy (diagnosis based on ILAE).
  • Normal intelligence based on school placement (defined as age appropriate; an IEP due to epilepsy related causes is acceptable as is placement in a higher grade) or IQ>70 (testing done with in 12 months of enrollment)
  • No history of significant snoring- loud snoring every night outside of a room with closed door
  • Combined score of 30 or more on sleep fragmentation, parasomnia and daytime drowsiness subscales on SBQ.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • History of significant snoring- loud snoring every night heard outside of a room with closed door
  • Diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or periodic limb movement disorder on PSG
  • Vagus nerve stimulator implanted
  • History of a major psychiatric disease (e.g. psychosis, major depression)
  • History of autism or pervasive development disorder
  • Severe neuro-developmental disabilities, as determined by PI
  • Clinically significant systemic organic disease, as determined by PI
  • Current use of melatonin or sustained release melatonin
  • Prior use of sustained release melatonin
  • Current use of any hypnotic medications except for medications used as a rescue treatment for seizures
  • Use of psychoactive or stimulant medication for attention deficit disorders
  • Subjects with immune disorders, lympho-proliferative disorders, and those taking oral corticosteroids or other immuno-suppressants
  • Subject or parent/legal guardian might not be reasonably expected to be compliant with or to complete the study.
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00965575

United States, Ohio
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, 45229
Sponsors and Collaborators
Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati
  More Information

Responsible Party: Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati Identifier: NCT00965575     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 2009-1042
Study First Received: August 24, 2009
Last Updated: June 17, 2014

Keywords provided by Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Brain Diseases
Central Nervous System Diseases
Nervous System Diseases
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Protective Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Central Nervous System Depressants processed this record on May 25, 2017