Melatonin or Ramelteon for Delirium Prevention in the Intensive Care Unit: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Link to article at PubMed

J Clin Med. 2023 Jan 5;12(2):435. doi: 10.3390/jcm12020435.


Melatonin modulates the circadian rhythm and has been studied as a preventive measure against the development of delirium in hospitalized patients. Such an effect may be more evident in patients admitted to the ICU, but findings from the literature are conflicting. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We assessed whether melatonin or ramelteon (melatonin agonist) reduce delirium incidence as compared to a placebo in ICU patients. Secondary outcomes were ICU length of stay, duration of mechanical ventilation (MV) and mortality. Estimates are presented as risk ratio (RR) or mean differences (MD) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Nine RCTs were included, six of them reporting delirium incidence. Neither melatonin nor ramelteon reduced delirium incidence (RR 0.76 (0.54, 1.07), p = 0.12; I2 = 64%), although a sensitivity analysis conducted adding other four studies showed a reduction in the risk of delirium (RR = 0.67 (95%CI 0.48, 0.92), p = 0.01; I2 = 67). Among the secondary outcomes, we found a trend towards a reduction in the duration of MV (MD -2.80 (-6.06, 0.47), p = 0.09; I2 = 94%) but no differences in ICU-LOS (MD -0.26 (95%CI -0.89, 0.37), p = 0.42; I2 = 75%) and mortality (RR = 0.85 (95%CI 0.63, 1.15), p = 0.30; I2 = 0%). Melatonin and ramelteon do not seem to reduce delirium incidence in ICU patients but evidence is weak. More studies are needed to confirm this finding.

PMID:36675363 | PMC:PMC9863078 | DOI:10.3390/jcm12020435

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