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Prolonged-release melatonin versus placebo for benzodiazepine discontinuation in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder: A randomised, placebo-controlled, blinded trial

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OBJECTIVES: We assessed if prolonged-release melatonin can facilitate withdrawal of long-term benzodiazepine usage in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

METHODS: Randomised, placebo-controlled, blinded, parallel superiority trial of 24 weeks duration. Participants were randomised to prolonged-release melatonin 2 mg daily versus matching placebo and were continuously guided to gradually reduce their usual benzodiazepine dosage. The primary outcome was mean benzodiazepine daily dosage at 24 weeks. Secondary outcomes included pattern of benzodiazepine dosage over time, benzodiazepine cessation proportion, and benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.

RESULTS: In total, 86 patients (21-74 years) were enrolled: 42 were randomised to melatonin versus 44 to placebo. We found no significant effect of melatonin on mean benzodiazepine dosage at 24 weeks (melatonin group 8.01 mg versus placebo group 5.72 mg diazepam equivalents; difference between means -2.29; 95% CI -5.78 to 1.21; P = 0.20). Benzodiazepine cessation proportion was 38.1% (16/42) in the melatonin group versus 47.7% (21/44) in the placebo group (OR 0.64; 95% CI 0.26 to 1.56; P = 0.32). Prolonged-release melatonin had no effect on benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: Benzodiazepine dosage was comparably low between the groups after 24 weeks of guided gradual dose reduction. In this context, prolonged-release melatonin did not seem to further facilitate benzodiazepine discontinuation.

TidsskriftThe world journal of biological psychiatry : the official journal of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry
Sider (fra-til)514-524
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 2016

ID: 45443215