Does Melatonin Decrease the Use of As-Needed Antipsychotics or Benzodiazepines in Noncritically Ill Hospitalized Patients? A Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study

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J Integr Complement Med


Background: Delirium is a common neuropsychiatric syndrome without an FDA-approved treatment. Commonly used modalities show little improvement in outcomes; therefore, prevention efforts are imperative. Abnormalities in the sleep/wake cycle have been linked to delirium, and melatonin has been proposed to replace the hypothesized low levels of endogenous melatonin and restore sleep/wake cycle synchronization.

Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the association between melatonin, benzodiazepines (BZDs) or zolpidem (ZLP), and the use of as-needed antipsychotics and BZDs for delirium in noncritically ill adult patients. Methods: This was a multicenter retrospective cohort study of noncritically ill adult patients admitted to two separate health systems from August 2012 to December 2018 receiving either melatonin or nonmelatonin medications (ZLP or BZDs) for sleep. The coprimary endpoint was the proportion of patients receiving a pro re nata (PRN) antipsychotic or BZD 5 days from the patient's first dose of melatonin, BZD, or ZLP. Secondary outcomes included evaluation of the coprimary outcome in patients 65 years of age or older, total number of PRN antipsychotic and BZD doses, and length of stay.

Results: Two hundred and twenty-five patients were included in the final analysis. Administration of BZD or ZLP was associated with a higher risk of subsequent BZD administration as compared with melatonin (OR 2.78, 95% CI 1.2-1.87) and ZLP (OR 2.78, 95% CI 1.25-6.17). BZD or ZLP had no impact on PRN antipsychotic use compared with melatonin (OR 1.09, 95% CI 0.51-2.35) and ZLP (OR 1.16, 95% CI 0.56-2.4).

Conclusion: Melatonin use was found to be associated with a significant decrease in PRN BZD use in noncritically ill patients hospitalized on general floors; however, there was no observed association with overall PRN antipsychotic use. These results suggest that using melatonin may help decrease utilization of medications commonly used to manage delirium.

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ePub ahead of print