Pharmacist Hootan Melamed on the Importance of Melatonin in the Treatment of Autism
Pre-eminent compounding pharmacy innovator, leader and guide, Dr. Hootan Melamed has dedicated his life to furthering the cause of patient health and well-being. Patients who are unable to find satisfactory solutions through commercial drugs and treatments may find effective resolution of their condition with compounding pharmacy treatment.
Through his Beverly Hills enterprise, New Age Pharma, and his consultancy organization, Skyler Holdings, Inc., Dr. Melamed supports a number of research and development projects related to pharmacy. He is among the key supporters of melatonin based treatments for autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Sleep Difficulties in ASD
One of the most commonly recognized symptoms in children with ASD is sleep difficulty. Several studies have shown that the sleep disturbance rate in patients with ASD can range from 40 to 60 percent. Many such children will not be able to attain sufficiently long and consistent stretches of sleep, and may find it challenging to initiate sleep. Some of the patients will also suffer from prolonged periods of hypersomnia.
Melatonin and Sleep
Researchers over the years have increasingly determined a link between sleep difficult in children with autism and lower levels of melatonin in the body. Melatonin is a natural hormone that is instrumental in maintaining a normal circadian rhythm. This secretion process of melatonin typically takes place in the evening.
At around 3:00 am, the healthy body attains optimal nocturnal plasma levels. Secretion declines progressively after that until morning. Among adolescents and young adults, the peak levels are in the range of 60 pg/mL. Researchers believe that the last enzyme of melatonin synthesis gets eliminated in patients with autism. Consequently, melatonin is one of the major research areas when it comes to autism treatments.
Results of Research Studies
A major study in this area revealed favorable outcomes in 18 children with ASD or fragile X when they were administered a dose of 3 mg melatonin. Out of the 12 participants in age group of two to 15 who completed the study, 10 displayed signs of improvement in the duration and initiation of sleep.
A second study involving 107 children with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD received a dosage of melatonin varying from 0.75 mg to 6 mg. When the study was completed, one-fourth of the participants reported that their sleep concerns were resolved, while 60% reported improvement in sleep.
Melatonin also plays a vital role as an antioxidant. Melatonin is recognized as a strong free radical scavenger. It can provide support to autistic children who may other find it challenging to remove toxins from the body and may experience deficiency of antioxidants.
Advantage of Compounding Pharmacy
Children have specific needs when it comes to handling medications. A compounding pharmacist can provide dosage in a form designed to meet the needs of a child, and even the strength of ingredients can be altered to suit their condition. Dr. Melamed recommends that pharmacists should make an effort to evaluate the particular dosage form, deliver, and flavor that may work best for a child, provide effective support in a melatonin based treatment.
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