Background: There are no published guidelines for the pharmacological management
of insomnia in the pediatric population, and there are no Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) approved medications for this purpose. Yet, many classes of psychopharmacological
medications are used off-label in children and adolescents.
Objective: To describe the side effects of different classes of medications used as sleep aids in
the pediatric population, and management of those side effects.
Method: Literature review and summary of existing evidence.
Results: Several medications used as pediatric sleep aids have side effects that range from inconvenient
constitutional symptoms, major systemic cardiac, endocrinological and neurological
symptoms to potentially fatal syndromes.
Conclusion: Clinicians need to be vigilant for adverse effects of these medications and to implement
strategies to mitigate some of the effects, while educating patients and families about
the pros and cons of medication use for insomnia.