- Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. Melatonin used as medicine is usually made synthetically in a laboratory. It is most commonly available in pill form, but melatonin is also available in forms that can be placed in the cheek or under the tongue. This allows the melatonin to be absorbed directly into the body.
- People use melatonin to adjust the body’s internal clock. It is used for jet lag, for adjusting sleep-wake cycles in people whose daily work schedule changes (shift-work disorder), and for helping blind people establish a day and night cycle.
- Melatonin is also used for the inability to fall asleep (insomnia); delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS); insomnia associated with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); insomnia due to certain high blood pressure medications called beta-blockers; and sleep problems in children with developmental disorders including autism, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities. It is also used as a sleep aid after discontinuing the use of benzodiazepine drugs and to reduce the side effects of stopping smoking.
- Some people use melatonin for Alzheimer’s disease, ringing in the ears, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), fibromyalgia, migraine and other headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), bone loss (osteoporosis), a movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia (TD), epilepsy, as an anti-aging agent, for menopause, and for birth control.
- Other uses include breast cancer, brain cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, head cancer, neck cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer. Melatonin is also used for some of the side effects of cancer treatment (chemotherapy) including weight loss, nerve pain, weakness, and a lowered number of clot-forming cells (thrombocytopenia).
- It is also used to calm people before they are given anesthesia for surgery.
- The forms of melatonin that can be absorbed through the cheek or under the tongue are used for insomnia, shift-work disorder, and to calm people before receiving anesthesia for surgery.
- Sometimes people apply melatonin to the skin to protect against sunburn.
- Melatonin’s main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin, which signals the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to prepare for being awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. It is thought that adding melatonin from supplements might help them sleep.
- Melatonin is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth short-term or when applied to the skin.
- Melatonin is POSSIBLY SAFE when used by mouth appropriately, long-term. Melatonin has been used safely for up to 2 years in some people. However, it can cause some side effects including headache, short-term feelings of depression, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, stomach cramps, and irritability. Do not drive or use machinery for four to five hours after taking melatonin.
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Melatonin is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use during pregnancy. Do not use it. Melatonin might also interfere with ovulation, making it more difficult to become pregnant. Not enough is known about the safety of using melatonin when breast-feeding. It is best not to use it.
- Infants and children: Melatonin should not be used in most children. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Because of its effects on other hormones, melatonin might interfere with development during adolescence.
- Bleeding disorders: Melatonin might make bleeding worse in people with bleeding disorders.
- High blood pressure: Melatonin can raise blood pressure in people who are taking certain medications to control blood pressure. Avoid using it.
- Diabetes: Melatonin might increase blood sugar in people with diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and take melatonin.
- Depression: Melatonin can make symptoms of depression worse.
- Seizure disorders: Using melatonin might increase the risk of having a seizure.
- Transplant recipients: Melatonin can increase immune function and might interfere with immunosuppressive therapy used by people receiving transplants.
Major Interaction Do not take this combination:
- Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with MELATONIN: Melatonin might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking melatonin along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
- Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.
Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination:
- Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs) interacts with MELATONIN: The body makes melatonin. Birth control pills seem to increase how much melatonin the body makes. Taking melatonin along with birth control pills might cause too much melatonin to be in the body.
- Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.
- Caffeine interacts with MELATONIN: Caffeine might decrease melatonin levels in the body. Taking melatonin along with caffeine might decrease the effectiveness of melatonin supplements.
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox) interacts with MELATONIN:Taking fluvoxamine (Luvox) can increase the amount of melatonin that the body absorbs. Taking melatonin along with fluvoxamine (Luvox) might increase the effects and side effects of melatonin.
- Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with MELATONIN: Melatonin might increase blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. By increasing blood sugar, melatonin might decrease the effectiveness of diabetes medications. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
- Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
- Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with MELATONIN: Melatonin might increase the immune system. Taking melatonin along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.
- Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.
- Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with MELATONIN: Melatonin might slow blood clotting. Taking melatonin along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.
- Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.
- Nifedipine GITS (Procardia XL) interacts with MELATONIN: Nifedipine GITS (Procardia XL) is used to lower blood pressure. Taking melatonin might decrease the effectiveness of nifedipine GITS for lowering blood pressure.
- Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines) interacts with MELATONIN: Melatonin might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking melatonin along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
- Some of these sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and others.
- Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) interacts with MELATONIN: The body breaks down melatonin to get rid of it. Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) can increase how quickly the body gets rid of melatonin. Taking melatonin along with verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan) might decrease the effectiveness of melatonin.
Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination:
- Flumazenil (Romazicon) interacts with MELATONIN: Flumazenil (Romazicon) might decrease the effects of melatonin. It is not yet clear why this interaction occurs yet. Taking flumazenil (Romazicon) along with melatonin might decrease the effectiveness of melatonin supplements.
5-Methoxy-N-Acetyltryptamine, MEL, Melatonina, Mélatonine, MLT, N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, N-Acétyl-5-Méthoxytryptamine, Pineal Hormone.
Source: WebMD, “Melatonin”, www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/