The trial of infant response to diphenhydramine: The TIRED study - A randomized, controlled, patient-oriented trial

Dan Merenstein, Marie Diener-West, Ann C. Halbower, Alex Krist, Haya R. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if infants aged 6 to 15 months with frequent parent-reported nighttime awakenings require reduced parental aid during a week of diphenhydramine hydrochloride treatment and 2 and 4 weeks after its discontinuation. Design: Double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Setting: The study was conducted from May 1, 2004, through May 1, 2005; patients were recruited nationally. Participants: Forty-four participants aged 6 to 15 months. Interventions: Placebo or diphenhydramine was administered in infants 30 minutes before anticipated bedtime. Main Outcome Measures: The primary outcome was dichotomous: a parental report of improvement in the number of night awakenings requiring parental assistance during the intervention week, which ended on day 14. Secondary outcomes were improved sleep during the 2 weeks before days 29 and 43, parental overall happiness with sleep, and improved sleep latency. Results: On June 6, 2005, the data safety monitoring board voted unanimously to stop the trial early because of lack of effectiveness of diphenhydramine over placebo. Only 1 of 22 children receiving diphenhydramine showed improvement compared with 3 of 22 receiving placebo. To reach the a priori determined sample size and have a positive outcome (ie, rejecting the null hypothesis), the trial would have needed to enroll 16 more participants in each arm, with 15 of the 16 in the diphenhydramine group and 0 of 16 in the placebo group improving. Conclusion: During 1 week of therapy and at follow-up 2 and 4 weeks later, diphenhydramine was no more effective than placebo in reducing nighttime awakening or improving overall parental happiness with sleep for infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-712
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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