Gabapentin shows promise in treating refractory insomnia in children

J Child Neurol. 2013 Dec;28(12):1618-21. doi: 10.1177/0883073812463069. Epub 2012 Oct 30.


Insomnia is prevalent in pediatrics, particularly in those with neurodevelopmental disorders. Gabapentin has shown promise in treating insomnia in adults. The purpose of our study was to review our experience with using gabapentin to treat insomnia in children. We identified 23 children, seen by the authors in our Pediatric Sleep Clinic from January 2009 to March 2012. The mean age was 7.2 years and 70% were male. The majority (87%) had been given diagnoses of neurodevelopmental or neuropsychiatric disorders. All parents received education in sleep behavioral interventions. The majority of children (70%) had both sleep-onset and sleep maintenance insomnia. The average starting dose of gabapentin was 5 mg/kg every bedtime and the maximal dose was 15 mg/kg every bedtime. At follow-up, improved sleep was noted in 78% of children. Adverse effects were noted in 6 children.

Keywords: gabapentin; insomnia; neurodevelopmental delay; sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amines / therapeutic use*
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gabapentin
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Polysomnography
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Amines
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Cyclohexanecarboxylic Acids
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Gabapentin