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.