The Importance of Melatonin in the Treatment of AutismJune 17, 2015
Pharmacist Hootan Melamed on the Importance of Melatonin in the Treatment of Autism
Mass produced commercial drugs may not be able to address the individual concerns of every patient. Some patients need a customized dosage, form or delivery, and some may need an adjustment in the type or quantity of certain ingredients. This is where compounding pharmacy can intervene and provide excellent solutions.
Dr. Hootan Melamed is a renowned name in the world of compounding pharmacy. He has dedicated his life to the cause of promoting healthcare in areas where conventional medicine may not lead to effective outcomes. Dr. Melamed believes that there is sufficient scientific evidence to suggest that melatonin based treatments can offer support to patients suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Sleep Deficit in ASD
Sleep disturbance and sleep loss are common symptoms in children afflicted with ASD. Various research studies have revealed that the rate of sleep disturbance in ASD patients can vary between 40 and 60%. This condition may hamper the child’s ability to initiate sleep or to enjoy prolonged sleep for several hours at a stretch. The condition can have an adverse impact on the child as well as the parents because of disturbed sleep at nights.
According to researchers, children with autism will typically have a diminished melatonin synthesis in their body, which may be causing inadequate sleep. Melatonin hormone is primarily secreted from the pineal gland in the body. The hormone is known to support the maintenance of a regular circadian rhythm. The process of secretion normally takes place during evening hours.
The peak levels of nocturnal plasma are reached at around 0:300 hours, after which the rate of secretion progressively declines until morning. The peak levels in young people are around 60 pg/mL. Research studies show that the last enzyme of melatonin synthesis gets eliminated in most ASD cases. As a result, melatonin has remained one of the key subjects of research in autism related treatments.
A scientific research study conducted to determine the impact of melatonin on sleep showed positive results. A dosage of 3 mg melatonin was given to 18 children suffering from autism or fragile X. Twelve of these children, who were in the age group of two to 15 years, managed to complete the study. Out of these, 10 showed an improvement in the initiation and duration of sleep.
Another major study involving 107 children in the same age group, who were confirmed having ASD, were administered doses of melatonin in the range of 0.75 mg to 6 mg. When the study was completed, 25% of the children reported resolution of disturbed sleep patterns, and 60% reported improvement in sleep patterns.
Benefits of Compounding Pharmacy
In a melatonin based treatment for ASD, compounding pharmacy can offer effective solutions. It allows for the modification of the dosage strength, form and delivery with an aim to meet the specific needs of a child. Patient compliance can improve significantly with such customized adjustments.
Dr. Melamed encourages pharmacists to pay special attention to the creation of pleasant flavors and customized dosage forms when the patient is a child. Best results with melatonin therapy can be achieved with compounding pharmacy medications.
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