Pharmacologic treatment of pediatric insomnia

Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2009 Oct;18(4):1001-16. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2009.04.009.


Pediatric insomnia is common in children and adolescents, particularly in children who have comorbid medical, psychiatric, and neurodevelopmental disorders, and may be associated with cognitive, emotional, and psychosocial impairments that often result in significant caregiver burden. Although several behavioral interventions for pediatric insomnia are effective, there is a relative paucity of empiric evidence supporting the use of pharmacologic treatment. Sedative/hypnotic drugs are frequently used in clinical practice to treat pediatric insomnia, and guidelines for the use of these medications in general as well as for specific medications have been developed. This review presents expert consensus guidelines for the use of these medications in clinical practice, with a focus on the different classes of pharmacologic agents that are most commonly prescribed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / adverse effects
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Melatonin / adverse effects
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use
  • Patient Care Team
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / etiology


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Histamine H1 Antagonists
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Plant Preparations
  • Melatonin