Use of melatonin to treat sleep disorders in tuberous sclerosis

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1999 Feb;41(2):123-6. doi: 10.1017/s0012162299000237.


The results of a therapeutic trial of the use of melatonin in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex who also have severe sleep problems are reported. We used a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design. Seven patients with confirmed diagnoses of tuberous sclerosis and significant sleep disorder were recruited. We employed three outcome measures: total sleep time, time to sleep onset, and number of awakenings. Patients treated with melatonin had a small but clinically significant improvement in total sleep time (mean improvement 0.55 hours, P<0.05). They also tended to have an improvement in sleep-onset time but this did not reach statistical significance. Melatonin, in this trial, had no discernible effect on sleep fragmentation. We conclude that melatonin does have a beneficial effect in prolonging the total sleep time of patients with tuberous sclerosis and sleep disorder and that further trials are necessary to investigate the issues of optimal dosage, tolerance, and possible interactions with other medications.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melatonin / adverse effects
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Sleep Stages / drug effects
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / complications
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Wakefulness / drug effects


  • Melatonin