Melatonin is effective for treating sleep-wake cycle disturbances and has been reported occasionally to decrease epileptic seizure frequency, with no long-term side effects. In this pilot study, the investigators examined the effect of melatonin on seizures, sleep quality, and behavior in 10 patients aged 9 to 32 years with intractable epilepsy. Patients were randomized to receive melatonin (10 mg daily at bedtime) followed by placebo or placebo followed by melatonin for 3 weeks each, with a 1-week washout period in between. Seizure frequency was monitored by daily diaries and actigraphy recordings; behavioral and sleep parameters were rated by caregivers. Diurnal seizures decreased significantly with melatonin compared with placebo (P =.034, Wilcoxon test). Maximal number of seizures, seizure duration, sleep efficiency or latency, and behavioral parameters remained unchanged. No major side effects or seizure aggravation were documented. It is concluded that melatonin could be effective and safe for decreasing daytime seizure frequency in patients with intractable epilepsy.
- antiepileptic effect