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Melatonin is a hormone made in the body. It regulates night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin in supplements is usually made in a lab.

Darkness triggers the body to make more melatonin, which signals the body to sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to be awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. It's thought that adding melatonin from supplements might help them sleep.

People most commonly use melatonin for insomnia and improving sleep in different conditions, such as jet lag. It is also used for depression, chronic pain, dementia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses. There is also no good evidence to support using melatonin for COVID-19.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
No data available.
  • Beta blocker-induced insomnia.  Oral melatonin seems to improve sleep in patients with insomnia related to the use of beta-blockers.
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  • Cancer.  In patients with various types of cancer, most research shows that oral or combined intramuscular/oral melatonin in combination with chemotherapy or other treatments seems to improve tumor regression and survival rates.
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  • Endometriosis.  Oral melatonin seems to reduce endometriosis-related pain.
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  • Hypertension.  Oral controlled-release melatonin seems to reduce blood pressure by a small amount in patients with hypertension. Immediate-release melatonin may not have the same effect.
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  • Insomnia.  In patents with insomnia, oral melatonin seems to shorten the time it takes to fall asleep by about 7-12 minutes, although the effect on the amount of time asleep is inconclusive. Melatonin is more likely to be beneficial in older adults or people with certain comorbidities.
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  • Jet lag.  Taking oral melatonin 2-3 mg daily while travelling seems to improve alertness and reduce daytime sleepiness in people with jet lag. It is unclear if it improves sleep efficiency in this population. Higher doses might have a hypnotic effect.
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  • Migraine headache.  Oral melatonin 3-4 mg seems to prevent migraines when used prophylactically. It is unclear if oral melatonin is beneficial for treating migraine.
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  • Preoperative anxiety and sedation.  Most research shows that oral or sublingual melatonin reduces preoperative anxiety and improves sedation in adults. The benefit in children is unclear.
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  • Sunburn.  Most research shows that topical melatonin seems to protect against erythema from ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.
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  • Temporomandibular disorders (TMD).  Oral melatonin seems to moderately reduce pain in females with TMD.
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  • Thrombocytopenia.  Oral melatonin seems to improve and prevent thrombocytopenia associated with cancer, cancer treatment, and other disorders.
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No data available.
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No data available.

When taken by mouth: Melatonin is likely safe for most adults when used short-term. Melatonin is possibly safe when taken long-term. It's been used safely for up to 2 years. But it can cause some side effects including headache, sleepiness, dizziness, and nausea. Don't drive or use machinery for 4-5 hours after taking melatonin.

When applied to the skin: Melatonin is likely safe for most adults when used short-term.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Melatonin is possibly unsafe when regularly taken by mouth or in high doses while trying to become pregnant. Melatonin might have effects similar to birth control, making it more difficult to become pregnant. There isn't enough reliable information to know if melatonin is safe to use when pregnant. Until more is known, it's best not to use melatonin while pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if melatonin is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Melatonin is possibly safe when taken by mouth, short-term. Melatonin is usually well tolerated when taken in doses up to 3 mg daily in children and 5 mg daily in adolescents. There is some concern that melatonin might interfere with development during adolescence. Melatonin should only be used in children with a medical need. There isn't enough evidence to know if melatonin is safe in children when taken by mouth, long-term.

Bleeding disorders: Melatonin might make bleeding worse in people with bleeding disorders.

Depression: Melatonin can make symptoms of depression worse.

High blood pressure: Melatonin can raise blood pressure in people who are taking certain medications to control blood pressure. Avoid using it.

Seizure disorders: Using melatonin might increase the risk of having a seizure.

Transplant recipients: People who have had a transplant often take medications to suppress the immune system. Melatonin can increase immune function. This might interfere with the effects of some transplant medications.

Birth control pills (Contraceptive drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Caffeine might decrease melatonin levels in the body. Taking melatonin along with caffeine might decrease the effectiveness of melatonin supplements.

Flumazenil (Romazicon)

Interaction Rating=Minor Be watchful with this combination.

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.

Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Interaction Rating=Major Do not take this combination.

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.

Verapamil (Calan, Covera, Isoptin, Verelan)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

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.

Caffeine: Caffeine might increase or decrease melatonin levels in the body. When taken together with melatonin supplements, caffeine seems to increase melatonin levels.
Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure: Melatonin might lower blood pressure. Taking it with other supplements that have the same effect might cause blood pressure to drop too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include andrographis, casein peptides, L-arginine, niacin, and stinging nettle.
Herbs and supplements that might lower blood sugar: Melatonin might lower blood sugar. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might lower blood sugar too much. Examples of supplements with this effect include aloe, bitter melon, cassia cinnamon, chromium, and prickly pear cactus.
Herbs and supplements that might lower seizure threshold: Melatonin might increase the risk for seizures. Taking it along with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk for seizures even more. Examples of supplements with this effect include caffeine, evening primrose, L-carnitine, melatonin, and sage.
Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting: Melatonin might slow blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding. Taking it with other supplements with similar effects might increase the risk of bleeding in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include garlic, ginger, ginkgo, nattokinase, and Panax ginseng.
Herbs and supplements with sedative properties: Melatonin might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking it along with other supplements with similar effects might cause too much sleepiness and/or slowed breathing in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include hops, kava, L-tryptophan, and valerian.
Vitex agnus-castus: Taking vitex agnus-castus increases melatonin levels in the body. Taking vitex agnus-castus with melatonin might increase the effects and side effects of melatonin.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Melatonin has most often been used by adults in doses up to 8 mg by mouth daily for up to 6 months. In children, it's most often been used in doses up to 3 mg by mouth daily for up to 3 months.

Some melatonin supplements are slow-release and others are fast-release. Some melatonin products can be placed under the tongue or in the cheek to absorb faster. Melatonin is also used in creams, gargles, and gels. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

5-Methoxy-N-Acetyltryptamine, MEL, Melatonina, Mélatonine, MLT, N-Acetyl-5-Methoxytryptamine, N-Acétyl-5-Méthoxytryptamine, Pineal Hormone.

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