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Melatonin

What is it?

Melatonin is a hormone that is used to treat sleeping problems and jet lag. It is also used in treating high blood pressure, headaches, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

Other names for melatonin include: No other names have been found.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement).
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine.
  • are breastfeeding.
  • have liver disease, are depressed, or have an autoimmune problem (such as arthritis or lupus). Also tell your doctor if you have seizures or other problems with your nervous system (2,7,12).
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease.

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much melatonin you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking melatonin. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take melatonin without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox(R)) (13)
  • Nifedipine (Adalat(R), Procardia(R)) (9)
  • Warfarin (Coumadin(R)) (11)
  • Any medicines that make you sleepy, such as sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives (20)

Warnings:

  • Before taking melatonin, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you have liver disease, are depressed, or have an autoimmune problem (such as arthritis or lupus). Also tell your doctor if you have seizures or other problems with your nervous system (2,7,12,20).

Side Effects:

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hand, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash
  • Unusual thoughts or behaviors (4,5,7)

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Tiredness, change in sleep patterns (2,4,5,15,16,18)
  • Feeling cold (4,14)
  • Feeling very tired the next day (20)
  • Headache, confusion (4,5,17,18,19)

References:

1. Dohlberg OT, Hirschmann S & Grunhaus L. Melatonin for the treatment of sleep disturbances in major depressive disorder. Am J Psychiatry 1998; 155: 1119-1121.

2. Arendt J: Safety of melatonin in long-term use. J Biological Rhythms 1997; 12:673-681.

3. Middleton B, Stone B & Arendt J: Melatonin and fragmented sleep patterns (letter). Lancet 1996; 348:551-552.

4. Dollins AB, Zhdanova IV, Wurtman RJ et al: Effect of inducing nocturnal serum melatonin concentrations in daytime on sleep, mood, body temperature, and performance. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1994; 91: 1824-1828.

5. Petrie K, Dawson AG, Thompson L et al: A double-blind trial of melatonin as a treatment for jet lag in international cabin crew. Biol Psychiatry 1993; 33:526-530.

6. Garfinkel D, Laudon M, N of D et al: Improvement of sleep quality in elderly people by controlled-release melatonin. Lancet 1995; 346(8974): 541-544.

7. Carman JS, Post RM, Buswell R et al: Negative effects of melatonin on depression. Am J Psychiatry 1976; 133(10): 1181-1186.

8. Grozinger M, Hartter S, Wang X et al: Fluvoxamine strongly inhibits melatonin metabolism in a patient with low-amplitude melatonin profile. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2000; 57(8):812-813.

9. Lusardi P, Piazza E & Fogari R: Cardiovascular effects of melatonin in hypertensive patients well controlled by nifedipine: a 24 hour study. Br J Clin Pharmacol 2000; 49:423-427.

10. Dolberg OT, Hirschmann S & Grunhaus L: Melatonin for the treatment of sleep disturbances in major depressive disorder. Am J Psychiatry 1998; 155(8):1119-1121.

11. Herxheimer A & Petrie KJ: Melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2002. Oxford: Update Software.

12. Sheldon SH: Pro-convulsant effects of oral melatonin in neurologically disabled children (letter). Lancet 1998; 351(9111):1254.

13. Hartter S, Grozinger M, Weigmann H et al: Increased bioavailability of oral melatonin after fluvoxamine coadministration. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2000; 67(1):1-6.

14. Deacon S, English J & Arendt J: Acute phase-shifting effects of melatonin associated with suppression of core body temperature in humans. Neuroscience 1994; 178(1):32-34.

15. Middleton B, Stone B & Arendt J: Melatonin and fragmented sleep patterns (letter). Lancet 1996(9026); 348:551-552.

16. Tzischinsky O & Lavie P: Melatonin possesses time-dependent hypnotic effects. Sleep 1994; 17(7):638-645.

17. Dollins AB, Lynch HJ, Wurtman RJ et al: Effect of pharmacological daytime doses of melatonin on human mood and performance. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1993; 112(4):490-496.

18. Claustrat B, Brun J, David M et al: Melatonin and jet lag: confirmatory result using a simplified protocol. Biol Psychiatry 1992; 32(8):705-711.

19. Dahlitz M, Alvarez B, Vignau J et al: Delayed sleep phase syndrome response to melatonin. Lancet 1991; 337(8750):1121-1124.

20. Product Information: Melatonin. Natrol, Inc, Chatsworth, CA, 2004.


Last Updated: 11/4/2014

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