Melatonin for anaesthetic indications in paediatric patients: a systematic review.

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The favourable safety profile and ubiquitous nature of melatonin has led to an increase in its use in various clinical settings in adults and children. We performed a systematic review of published studies on the use of melatonin for anaesthetic indications in paediatric patients. To identify relevant articles, PubMed, EMBASE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, Web of Science and Scopus databases were searched. Study title and abstract screening, and full text review were performed by two reviewers. Twenty-seven eligible studies investigating melatonin use for anaesthetic indications were identified. Due to significant heterogeneity in study methodology, a quantitative synthesis of the published findings was not possible. The identified studies were therefore categorised by the indication for melatonin: analgesia, diagnostic sedation and as an anaesthetic adjunct. Melatonin use for anaesthetic-related indications is safe; may provide analgesia for inflammatory-associated pain in neonates and children before venepuncture; may decrease the need for, or replace, general anaesthesia for diagnostic procedures; and may serve as an anaesthesia adjunct before induction in paediatric patients.

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