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safety of melatonin? (sleep aid for SPD, autism, ADHD)

post #1 of 6
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Edited by riverview9 - 12/22/10 at 6:34pm
post #2 of 6
We do use melatonin and DS's neuro supports it BUT it isn't without side effects or risks as some people suggest. Check out a couple of these articles. The first one states that an adult's body only makes 0.3mg a night of melatonin. I have read elsewhere the number to be only 0.1. It doesn't make sense then to give our kids such high doses when our bodies are producing literally 1/10 or 1/20th of what a lot of pills contain. I get that we all get desperate and need sleep, which is why we use it here, but we keep it at .05mg to max of .1 mg and it works great with my 35 lb son.

http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/melatonin-000315.htm

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/artic...onin-and-sleep ...this website states:

"No other hormone is available in the United States without a prescription. Because melatonin is contained naturally in some foods, the U.S. Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 allows it to be sold as a dietary supplement (e.g., vitamins and minerals). These do not need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or controlled in the same way as drugs.

Because it is not categorized as a drug, synthetic melatonin is made in factories that are not regulated by the FDA. Listed doses may not be controlled or accurate, meaning the amount of melatonin in a pill you take may not be the amount listed on the package. Most commercial products are offered at dosages that cause melatonin levels in the blood to rise to much higher levels than are naturally produced in the body. Taking a typical dose (1 to 3 mg) may elevate your blood melatonin levels to 1 to 20 times normal. Side effects do not have to be listed on the product's packaging. Yet, fatigue and depression have occasionally been reported with use of melatonin.

When given to animals, melatonin can cause changes in blood pressure and affect fertility. Such effects in humans would be a medical risk for people with heart-related problems, hypertension and stroke, kidney disease and sleep apnea as well as for women of child-bearing age."
post #3 of 6
I agree that it's good to be cautious, but I know of many parents on other forums whose children have taken it regularly for years, and I have yet to hear about any problems related to it. This is partly why I have just started using it with my daughter, and it has been working great for us. I have heard that you need to take a break from it every month or so for about a week in order for it to continue to be effective.
post #4 of 6
Its always good to be cautious and research! I was worried too so after lots of research I talked to our pediatrician (who I really like and trust, she's been our Dr for almost 7 years now and has been supportive of our alternative parenting ideas like selective/delayed vax even) and she said it was safe and a good alternative to rx medications. She said it was not addictive like many sleep aids and I could use it without worrying. Its been amazing for our entire family. My oldest DD, DS and DH all use it from time to time and its helped a lot.
post #5 of 6
I've had several medical "professionals" recommend it for DD. But when I talk to them about side effects they all say there are none. But when I research it, I see there are side effects. We have used it a handful of times and it has been very helpful but the research still concerns me. In the blind community (DD is visually impaired), it is often recommended to use light therapy instead of melatonin to regulate sleep. I wish I could get a straight answer on the long term side effects because I really do like how effective it is.
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post
We do use melatonin and DS's neuro supports it BUT it isn't without side effects or risks as some people suggest. Check out a couple of these articles. The first one states that an adult's body only makes 0.3mg a night of melatonin. I have read elsewhere the number to be only 0.1. It doesn't make sense then to give our kids such high doses when our bodies are producing literally 1/10 or 1/20th of what a lot of pills contain.


I don't know which article I read, I will try to see if I can find it again, but I have read a lot recently...but it stated that babies and children have the highest levels of melatonin naturally, and that it decreases over time throughout life/adulthood. It is one of the theoretical explanations for much older people who sleep so little. You are right that the doses are still probably much higher than naturally occuring, just wanted to point out that while mose meds we should do lower for children, it may actually need to be higher in this case.

OP, as far as our personal experience, we have been giving it to ds3 for about a week now, and the tranformation has been dramatic. He is about 3 1/2 y, and was up sometimes as much as 5-6x a night or more. And was restless the rest of the time. He is sleeping better, down to 2 wakeups a night, and his behavior and mood has improved dramatically. After so many years of poor sleep--we were at a critical point for our family, we had to do something. I understand everything has risks, and I researched the dickens out of it. But to me, the risks of dh and I being unsafe drivers from exhaustion, being short tempered and less patient parents to all of our children, and ds3 not being able to participate fully and function appropriately because of his behavior outweighed the theoretical risks. YMMV
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