Melatonin has been trialed with reported increasing use for sleep dysregulation and prevention of ICU delirium in critically ill adults; however, reports of use in hospitalized pediatric patients are limited. We anecdotally observed an increase in prescribing of melatonin in our tertiary care children’s hospital and therefore aimed to retrospectively characterize prescribing practices over time.
Melatonin dispensing data over a 4-year time frame were extracted. Melatonin doses were categorized as being either ICU or non-ICU administered and dosed during daytime versus nighttime, respectively. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize patients who were administered melatonin, dosing information, and quantitative change in annual melatonin orders between areas. The comparison of daytime versus nighttime melatonin administrations and ratio of administrations between ICU and non-ICU areas for each study year were compared via χ2 test.
Administration of melatonin increased 246.2% between years 1 and 3, with a shift from predominance in ICU to non-ICU areas over the study period (P < .0001). The average dosing varied by age, with the most frequent dose being 5 mg (28.3%), predominantly in patients ≥12 years of age. Ninety-eight percent (n = 9434) of doses were scheduled for nighttime administration, suggesting an indication of sleep regulation. There were significantly more daytime administrations of melatonin in non-ICU areas (P < .0001).
Prescribing of melatonin for pediatric inpatients has increased substantially over a 4-year period, despite limited research on dosing, in this single-center. Further research is needed to determine best practices for melatonin prescribing for hospitalized children.