Melatonin may provide an alternative to general anesthesia and conventional sedatives for pediatric neuro-MRI scan, with an additional financial benefit for hospitals.
Why this matters
MRI examination requires full stillness which might be challenging for pediatric patients. General anesthesia or sedatives are commonly used in children of very young age or of low cognitive capacity. These sedation regimes require close monitoring of the child by an anesthesiologist and carry high risk of adverse events.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle. It is known for its sedating properties and has an overall safe toxicological profile. Melatonin may therefore offer a safer and cheaper alternative to current sedation strategies for MRI examination in children.