Treatment of infant sleep disturbance by trimeprazine in combination with extinction

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1991 Oct;12(5):308-14.


Chronic sleep disturbance is a common problem in preschool children. Prescription and non-prescription sedatives provide short-term palliative relief. Behavioral extinction by withdrawal of parental attention is enduringly effective but may be distressing short-term because of postextinction bursts of intense activity by the child. This study evaluated the effects of combining extinction and sedative medication (trimeprazine tartrate), prescribed in a reducing dose over the first 10 days of extinction. Control groups received either extinction alone or a placebo administered double-blind. After baseline, all subjects reduced their sleep disturbance to low levels, the extinction and placebo groups declining slowly, the medication group abruptly. These gains were maintained at follow-up. Measures of infant security and maternal anxiety showed improvements with treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Crying
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Extinction, Psychological / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy*
  • Trimeprazine / administration & dosage*


  • Trimeprazine