Exogenous Melatonin for Delirium Prevention: a Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.
Mol Neurobiol. 2015 Jul 21. Epub 2015 Jul 21. PMID: 26189834
Recently, two high-quality clinical randomized controlled trials (RCTs) regarding the preventive effect of exogenous melatonin on delirium drew inconsistent conclusions. We therefore performed a systemic review to explore whether melatonin had a benefit on delirium prevention. MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library were searched from January 1980 to April 2015 for English language studies. After strict selection and evaluation, the data were extracted from the included four RCTs. The primary outcome of this meta-analysis was the incidence of delirium. The secondary outcome was the improvement of sleep-wake rhythm. A total of four RCTs with 669 elderly patients were included in the present study. Melatonin group showed a tendency to decrease the incidence of delirium (relative risk [RR] 0.41, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.15 to 1.13; P = 0.08) compared with control group. In subgroup analysis of the elderly patients in medical wards, melatonin supplementation decreased the incidence of delirium by 75 % (RR 0.25, 95 % CI 0.07 to 0.88; P = 0.03), but not in sleep-wake disturbance (RR 1.24, 95 % CI 0.51 to 3.00; P = 0.64). No differences were found in the incidence of delirium between the two groups in the elderly patients that were presented to surgical wards. In conclusion, melatonin supplementation had a significant preventive effect in decreasing the incidence ofdelirium in elderly patients that were presented to medical wards. Further studies should provide sufficient evidence about the effect of melatonin on delirium in a large sample size.