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Melatonin


dcmom
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Hi everyone!

 

I don't want to jinx in, but things have been relatively quiet in my house :)

 

Over the last six months, I have started feeling very uneasy about using meds and supplements, and have worked to pare things down to what I feel is needed.

 

Both of my girls are on probitoics (1x a day), antibiotics (2x a week), and vit D (500mg/day). I do also give them melatonin at night, to help them sleep. My younger dd (45 lbs) takes .5mg, and my older dd (85 lbs) takes 1.0 mg.

 

So- I am wondering about the melatonin. Selfishly, it is great for me because they easily go off to sleep every night. For their health, I think sleep is very important- so I like the benefit of the melatonin. But- since they are healthy- I don't really think they NEED it- so I am wondering- keep them on? wean them off?

 

Has anyone seen any studies or credible literature on the longer term effects of melatonin? Any thoughts?

 

Oh- and for newcomers- My kids both have a hard time getting to sleep when in an episode. Can be due to restlessness, ocd, anxieties about next day or about sleeping alone. We have found melatonin to be a LIFESAVER. For my kids, we give it to them about 1/2 hour before we want them asleep. It really relaxes them, and gets them ready to sleep. We use Source Naturals, orange, sublingual drops from Amazon. We use the lowest possible dose. Although we don't have this issue- it apparently doesn't keep the child asleep if night waking is an issue, however, I think there is time release melatonin capsules you can find.

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We've been using melatonin for the last year or so with our DS. During holidays and sometimes on weekends, we have just left it out of the regimen, and the absence for that one or two days didn't seem to cause any dramatic behavioral changes, other than the fact that he tossed and turned a little longer before finally nodding off.

 

I think it was a few months ago, though, that someone else here (Momaine, maybe?) posted a link with a paper linking melatonin use to a decrease in epileptic seizures among patients with epilepsy. That paper spoke briefly about a glutamate link . . . wish I could locate it again on line, but I've not been successful with that as of yet. Maybe the original poster will visit this thread and remind us all of that information.

 

At any rate, like a lot of the other supplements some of us give our kids, melatonin seems to have its advocates and its "warners" when it comes to long-term use. There are studies and meta-studies underway, from what I've read, but few definitive results in broad terms, and only a few in more specific areas, such as sleep and cancer.

 

I found this article very interesting; it's not entirely scholarly, but it is sourced and spends a good bit of space talking about the neuroprotective components of melatonin, which is what I feel might be beneficial for PANDAS kids, in addition to the sleep assistance.

 

Benefits of Melatonin

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Interesting that you posted this as it has been on my mnd this past week too. My son takes 2mg of sustained release nightly and has been on some dose ranging from 1-3 mg for about 2 years I think. Last week he became sick with a virus and the melatonin was not needed since he was worn out and in bed much earlier than normal. When the virus was gone, I started wondering if I should just keep him off since his sleep patterns had gotten so much better over the past month or so. What I saw was a very hard time falling asleep and a much more restless sleep for him. So I decided to put him back on so that he can get the sleep his body needs. In all fairness, he may be having issues resulting from the virus also but either way, he needed it for better sleep.

 

I do wonder if anyone uses any other supplements that are helpful for sleep? I feel like we need something if we stop usng melatonin to get a quality sleep and stop the restless patterns.

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Yes, I am also wondering what other supplements may be helpful. I have used Melatonin in the past, especially when my dd was in an exaberation, but felt it sometimes made her groggy the next morning. She is doing much better but recently is having difficulties falling asleep again. It's only been a short period of time, so waiting to see if it's a minor fluke. Anyway, last night I tried Calms Fort'e 4 kids. I can't say I saw a huge difference but I didn't exactly dose how it mentions, so I'm going to try again tonight - dosing every 15 minutes. I also have Calms Forte sleep Aid for adults...might give it a try. This was recommended by my dd's psychologist. Would love to hear other suggestions.

Edited by philamom
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Only study that I found that worried me was re men taking it.. small study too if I remember right and how some men experienced decreased sperm amounts and motility and how for some this continued despite cessation....

 

I'll go see if I can find it....

 

We have been told to rry 5htp if we are worried about it.. not tried it yet tho.

 

We also were rec'd passiflora homeopathy but that super revved up my ds...

Edited by dut
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Philamom- Calms Fort'e 4 kids was suggested to us by our sensory OT. She knew we had sleep issues and she had another mom who praised it. It had absolutely no effect on my son. I was very hopeful but I guess it just depends on the child.

 

I have heard mention of 5htp but have not tried that. Also does anyone use valerian root?

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I have heard mention of 5htp but have not tried that. Also does anyone use valerian root?

 

We've used valerian root, but in our experience, it didn't so much induce sleep as "calm the waters." We would actually give valerian root before DS heading off to school during that period in which just walking out the door could induce some anxiety. It may have been psychosymatic on his part, but it did seem to help. But he never reported that it made him the least bit sleepy.

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Only study that I found that worried me was re men taking it.. small study too if I remember right and how some men experienced decreased sperm amounts and motility and how for some this continued despite cessation....

 

I'll go see if I can find it....

 

We have been told to rry 5htp if we are worried about it.. not tried it yet tho.

 

We also were rec'd passiflora homeopathy but that super revved up my ds...

 

Just thought I'd mention that, not unlike inositol, pairing up 5htp with an SSRI (if your child is taking one), is not advised. I guess it can lead to serotonin syndrome.

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We've been using Melatonin 0.5mg nightly for over a year now. My DS7 still has a lot of difficulty settling in and falling asleep w/out it. He had IVIG in early May and is on 250mg augmentin sid, 2000iu vit D, multivitamin, 200iu vit E, 500mg vit C, 1500mg omega 3 fish oil, 18.75mg bid lamictal(reducing it to get him off) and florastor bid. I forgot to give him his melatonin on Monday night and after watching him fidget and toss and turn, I realized I'd it. Gave it and 30min later, he was out. We just haven't been able to get away from the melatonin and I feel he needs his sleep rather than spending 2hrs tossing and turning until he's exhausted. I had hoped the IVIG would have helped w/ his falling asleep but it hasn't. Its helped w/ so much else. DS is in a very good place right now (knock on wood). I'm hoping he won't need the melatonin for more years.

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Have any of you tried melatonin personally? I say this because it can cause very vivid nightmares in some people. I am not sure if that is an issue any of your kids are having but it is something to consider if they are. I would take it when I traveled often to the east coast for jet lag and it worked very well. It wasn't until I returned from a trip and continued it for more than two weeks that the crazy nightmares started. Once I discontinued use they went away immediately. Again it may not be a factor at the low dosages you are working with.

 

I would think magnesium might be an alternative if given at bed time. Only my opinion based on my experience fortunately my DS doesn't have sleep issues.

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Yes, I've tried the same dosage melatonin as my DS, 0.5mgs. It makes me drowsy and if I wake during the night, I fall right back to sleep. I've never taken it on an extended time period, though. DS had terrible nightmares and slept horribly before diagnosis (and we already had him on melatonin). The sleep issues have greatly improved since diagnosis and treatment but the problem of falling asleep is still there. He's no longer crying out and yelling in his sleep and waking from bad dreams.

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