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Antihistamine Proved Ineffective in Making Kids to Sleep

al of Infant Response to Diphenhydramine), enrolled 44 children, age 6-15 months, with the participation of their parents, and followed the families for six weeks. During this time, parents kept diaries to record the sleep habits of their children throughout the night. Treatment with a placebo agent or diphenhydramine occurred during one week, and the days before and after treatment were recorded for comparison purposes. The study was blinded in that neither researchers nor parents knew which children received which treatment.

The investigators had hypothesized that, based on the sedative properties of diphenhydramine in adults, treated children would be more likely to fall asleep without any other help from their parents, and that doing so would lead them to associate the crib with sleep and comfort, helping them to fall back asleep if they woke up.

But Merenstein says the results were surprising. Diphenhydramine use was no more effective than a placebo in reducing nighttime awakening, ‘or improving overall parental happiness with sleep for infants,’ he says.

Merenstein also notes that while it is generally reported about 7 percent of diphenhydramine users become ‘hyperactive,’ and so have increased sleep problems, only one child showed some evidence of hyperactivity. Still, he says, ‘it is possible that diphenhydramine caused low-level hyperactivity in children, negating the sleep benefits seen in some adults, but we really don't know why it didn't work.’

‘The bottom line here is that parents and pediatricians should rely on evidence-based medicine and not on leaps of logic that border on folklore,’ Merenstein says.

Sourc: Eurekalert
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