Melatonin Effects on Sleep and Circadian Rhythm in Youth and Young Adults With At-risk Symptoms

  • End date
    Jul 1, 2023
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Updated on 5 April 2022
psychotic symptoms


Randomized control trial assessing supplemental melatonin for youth with at-risk or psychotic symptoms.


Context: Sleep disturbances and circadian dysrhythmias have been associated with psychotic symptom severity in Psychosis Spectrum (PS) youths. Supplemental melatonin is a safe over-the-counter dietary supplement, and several studies have found that melatonin improves sleep across several childhood neuropsychiatric disorders.

Objectives: Investigators seeks to determine whether supplemental melatonin improves sleep and circadian alignment in PS youth. Investigators will also investigate whether supplemental melatonin affects psychotic symptoms, neurocognition, and peripheral inflammatory and oxidative stress markers.

Study Design: Parallel group, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial Setting/Participants: 40 PS youths ages 11-30 years old (throughout the protocol we use "youth" to describe this age group) with sleep disturbances will be recruited from an extant cohort of PS youths followed by our lab in the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort (PNC), Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), and the surrounding community. The study will be conducted at CHOP and UPenn.

Study Interventions and Measures: Youths will be randomized to receive pill placebo or oral melatonin. Participants will take melatonin (or placebo) at the same time every evening for 2 weeks (final dose range 2.5-10 mg nightly). Outcomes will be assessed at 1 week, 2 weeks, and 6-months. Primary outcomes will be changes in self-reported sleep and actigraph-measured sleep and circadian rhythm. Secondary outcomes will be psychotic symptoms, neurocognition, and peripheral blood markers of inflammation and oxidative stress.

Condition Psychosis, Sleep
Treatment Placebo, oral melatonin tablets (NatureMade brand)
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT03826563
SponsorChildren's Hospital of Philadelphia
Last Modified on5 April 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Males or females age 11-30 years old and patient at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), or member of the surrounding community
Subthreshold psychosis-risk positive symptoms (e.g. hallucinations or unusual beliefs) on the Structured Interview of Psychosis-Risk Syndromes (SIPS)
At least mild sleep disturbances on the SIPS (>=1 on the SIPS sleep item (G1)) with difficulties with
Must have difficulties with sleep onset, sleep awakenings, or maintaining a regular sleep schedule
Willingness to report all changes in medications and therapy during the study
Intelligence Quotient (IQ) > 70
If female, not breastfeeding and not pregnant and willing to use effective birth control for the duration of the study (e.g. abstinence or oral contraception)
Medically healthy
Fluent in English

Exclusion Criteria

Psychiatric symptoms with imminent safety concern (e.g. intractable and escalating suicidal ideation)
Currently taking melatonin, having taken melatonin daily within the 2 weeks prior to Visit 1, or having a history of an intolerance or allergy to melatonin
Medication or treatment changes in the 4 weeks prior to Visit 1
Anticipated medication or other treatment (e.g. type of psychotherapy) changes in the three weeks after study enrollment
IQ <70
Taking any medication whose potential interactions with melatonin present a significant risk or limit the effect of melatonin in the judgment of the investigators
Clear my responses

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