Objectives: To formulate a rational approach to the pharmacologic treatment of pediatric insomnia, and to develop clinical guidelines regarding indications, target populations, and parameters for the use of these medications, especially by community-based pediatricians.
Participants: A multidisciplinary task force developed under the auspices of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, which included experts in pediatric sleep medicine, psychiatry, pharmacology, neurology, and general pediatrics.
Evidence: Review of existing data regarding current use of over-the-counter and prescription medications for pediatric insomnia in the primary care practice setting, and of empirical data on the pharmacology, safety, efficacy, and tolerability of medications commonly used for the treatment of pediatric insomnia.
Consensus process: Group consensus definition of pediatric insomnia and clinical guidelines; working group recommendations regarding special populations and future directions.
Conclusions: Use of medications for pediatric insomnia should be diagnostically driven, and should be implemented in conjunction with empirically-based behavioral treatment strategies and adequate sleep hygiene. Specific target populations include children with neurodevelopmental disorders, pervasive developmental disorders, chronic medical conditions, and psychiatric disorders. Additional research, including clinical trials, is critically needed to provide an evidence-based approach to the use of these medications in clinical practice.