Melatonin

Pronunciation

Generic Name: melatonin (meh lah TOE nin)
Brand Names: Melatonin

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycle.

Melatonin is most commonly used to treat insomnia, jet lag, and to aid in giving up smoking or long-term use of anti-anxiety medicine (Valium). It is also used to help regulate sleep/wake cycles in people who are blind.

Melatonin has also been used in alternative medicine as an aid to treat insomnia caused by Alzheimer's disease or depression.

Important information

Not all uses for melatonin have been approved by the FDA. Melatonin should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Melatonin is often sold as a dietary supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Slideshow: Herbal Supplements & Drugs: Interactions to Avoid

Herbal and Dietary Supplements Deserve Your Attention

The use of melatonin derived from animal pineal tissue may carry the risk of contamination or the means of transmitting viral material. The synthetic form of this medication does not carry this risk.

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use melatonin if you are allergic to it.

Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have:

  • high blood pressure;

  • diabetes;

  • cancer;

  • depression; or

  • seizures or epilepsy.

It is not known whether melatonin will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.

High doses of melatonin may affect ovulation, making it difficult for you to get pregnant. Melatonin has caused vaginal bleeding or spotting in some women who are nearing menopause.

It is not known whether melatonin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.

How should I take melatonin?

When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.

If you choose to use melatonin, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.

Use the lowest dose of melatonin when you first start taking this product.

Take melatonin at bedtime, or when you are getting ready for sleep. If you use this product to treat jet lag, take it at bedtime on the day you arrive at your destination and keep using this product for 2 to 5 days.

If you take this product to treat other conditions not related to sleep, follow your healthcare provider's instructions about when and how to take melatonin.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using this product.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since melatonin is used when needed, you are not likely to be on a dosing schedule. Avoid taking this product if you need to be awake and alert.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid?

Melatonin may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery for a least 4 hours after taking this supplement. This product may also affect your sleep-wake cycle for several days if you are traveling through many different time zones.

Follow your healthcare provider's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Melatonin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to melatonin: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Common melatonin side effects may include:

  • daytime drowsiness;

  • headache; or

  • dizziness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect melatonin?

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking melatonin with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Other drugs may also have interactions, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider may have more information about melatonin.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this product only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.01. Revision Date: 2013-09-13, 3:12:44 PM.

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