Melatonin treatment of non-epileptic myoclonus in children

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1999 Apr;41(4):255-9. doi: 10.1017/s0012162299000535.


Oral melatonin (MLT) has been used by our Vancouver research group in the treatment of paediatric sleep disorders since 1991; slightly over 200 children, mainly with multiple disabilities, who frequently had seizures, have been treated. Three children with markedly delayed sleep onset due to recurring myoclonus were also referred for MLT treatment: two had non-epileptic, and one had epileptic and non-epileptic myoclonus. Low doses of oral MLT (3 to 5 mg) unexpectedly abolished their myoclonus and allowed them to sleep. There were no adverse effects. It appears that certain types of myoclonus, which might be resistant to conventional anticonvulsant medications, may respond to MLT but the mechanism of action is unclear. Further research on this novel treatment is urgently needed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Myoclonus / complications
  • Myoclonus / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Melatonin