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Oral melatonin, diazepam stave off febrile seizures in children

13 Dec 2019

Oral melatonin and diazepam taken at the onset of febrile illness appear to cut the recurrence of febrile seizures, a recent study has found.

Researchers performed a retrospective randomized clinical trial of 60 children who had recurrent simple febrile seizures. Half received oral melatonin (mean age, 2.04±0.85 years; 50 percent male, while the other half were given oral diazepam (mean age, 2.33±0.88 years; 60 percent male). The primary study outcome was the recurrence of febrile seizures. Adverse effects were also recorded.

A total of 131 episodes of febrile illnesses with temperatures exceeding 38.5°C were reported over the study’s 6-month run. The recurrence rate of febrile seizures was 16.67 percent in the melatonin arm and 36.67 percent in the diazepam group. Despite the disparity, the difference failed to reach statistical significance (p=0.08).

Within-group changes from before to after medication were significant (p<0.001), suggesting efficacy of treatment. However, between-arm comparisons were null (p=0.18). Moreover, oral treatment with melatonin reduced the risk of febrile seizure recurrence by 45 percent relative to diazepam treatment.

In terms of treatment safety, 13.3 percent and 23.3 percent of the children in the melatonin and diazepam arms, respectively, experienced adverse events. These included diarrhoea, vomiting, the need for sedation, ataxia and irritability. The between-group difference in prevalence failed to reach significance (p=0.15).

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