The preventative role of exogenous melatonin administration to patients with advanced cancer who are at risk of delirium: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
McNamara-Kilian, Marie Theresa
MacDonald, Alistair Richard
Agar, Meera Ruth
Currow, David Christopher
Lawlor, Peter Gerard
MetadataShow full item record
Background Delirium is a very common and distressing neuropsychiatric syndrome in palliative care. Increasing age, the presence of dementia and advanced cancer are well-known predisposing risk factors for delirium development. Sleep-wake cycle disturbance is frequently seen during delirium and melatonin has a pivotal role in the regulation of circadian rhythms. Current evidence across various settings suggests a potential preventative role for melatonin in patients at risk of delirium, but no studies are currently reported in patients with advanced cancer. The aim of this article is to describe the design of a feasibility study that is being conducted to inform a larger randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (RCT) to evaluate the role of exogenously administered melatonin in preventing delirium in patients with advanced cancer. Methods/Design Adult patients with a cancer diagnosis who are admitted to the palliative care unit will be randomized into a treatment or placebo group. The pharmacological intervention consists of a single daily dose of immediate-release melatonin (3 mg) at 21:00 ± 1 h, from day 1 to day 28 of admission. The primary objective of this initial study is to assess the feasibility of conducting the proposed RCT by testing recruitment and retention rates, appropriateness of study outcome measures, acceptability of study procedures and effectiveness of the blinding process. The primary outcome measure of the proposed larger RCT is time to first inpatient incident episode of delirium. We also plan to collect data on incident rates of delirium and patient-days of delirium, adjusting for length of admission. Discussion The outcomes of this feasibility study will provide information on recruitment and retention rates, protocol violation frequency, effectiveness of the blinding process, acceptability of the study procedures, and safety of the proposed intervention. This will inform the design of a fully powered randomized controlled trial to evaluate the preventative role of melatonin administration in patients with advanced cancer. Trial registration Registered with ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02200172 Registered on 21 July 2014. Health Canada protocol number: BRI-MELAT-2013 (Final approved protocol version (Version 3): 18 June 2014) (Notice of Amended Authorization (NOA) received 14 November 2014). Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1525-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.