Prescribing melatonin

Prescribing melatonin

If a prescriber decides to prescribe an unlicensed or off-label medicine, they must follow their professional guidance. For doctors this is the General Medical Council's good practice guidelines. This guidance includes giving information about the treatment and discussing the possible benefits and harms so that the patient, and their parent or carer if appropriate, has enough information to decide whether or not to have the treatment. This is called giving informed consent.

The full version of the summary aimed at healthcare professionals is available at https://publications.nice.org.uk/esuom2-sleep-disorders-in-children-and-young-people-with-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-esuom2/. The summary for healthcare professionals does not contain recommendations from NICE on whether the medicine should be used.

If your doctor is suggesting that your child might try melatonin to help their sleep disorder, and they also have ADHD, you might like to ask some of the questions below.

Questions to ask

  • Why is my child being offered an unlicensed or off-label medicine?

  • What does the treatment involve?

  • What are the benefits they might get?

  • How good are thier chances of getting those benefits?

  • Could having the treatment make them feel worse?

  • Are there alternative treatments?

  • What are the risks of the treatment?

  • Are the risks minor or serious? How likely are they to happen?

  • What may happen if they don't have the treatment?