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  Melatonin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Melatonin also known chemically as N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is a naturally occurring compound found in animals, plants, and microbes. ...
History - In plants - In animals - In mammals
"Studies in rats suggest that melatonin may be effective for treating Alzheimer's disease....melatonin also exerts a powerful antioxidant activity......Melatonin has been shown to be effective in treating one form of depression, seasonal affective disorder,[72] and is being considered for bipolar and other disorders where circadian disturbances are involved.....A systematic review of unblinded clinical trials involving a total of 643 cancer patients using melatonin found a reduced incidence of death.[76] Another clinical trial is due to be completed in 2012.[77] Melatonin levels at night are reduced to 50% by exposure to a low-level incandescent bulb for only 39 minutes, and it has been shown that women with the brightest bedrooms have an increased risk for breast cancer.......Prolonged release melatonin has shown good results in treating insomnia in older adults.[87] Other studies have found that for certain types of sleep disorders, melatonin is not effective. A 2006 review found that although it is safe for short term use (of three months or less), there is "no evidence that melatonin is effective in treating secondary sleep disorders or sleep disorders accompanying sleep restriction, such as jet lag and shiftwork disorder."[88] However, a 2004 review found that melatonin significantly increased total sleep time in people suffering from sleep restriction.....Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology have said that melatonin pills sold as supplements contain three to ten times the amount needed to produce the desirable physiologic nocturnal blood melatonin level for a more rapid sleep onset. Dosages are designed to raise melatonin levels for several hours[citation needed] to enhance quality of sleep, but some studies suggest that smaller doses (for example 0.3 mg as opposed to 3 mg) are just as effective.[90] Large doses of melatonin can even be counterproductive: Lewy et al.[91] provide support to the "idea that too much melatonin may spill over onto the wrong zone of the melatonin phase-response curve" (PRC). In one of their blind subjects, 0.5 mg of melatonin was effective while 20 mg was not.[91][92].......In the USA, because it is sold as a dietary supplement and not as a drug, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations that apply to medications are not applicable to melatonin......Melatonin is available as a prolonged-release prescription drug, trade-name Circadin, manufactured by Neurim Pharmaceuticals. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved Circadin 2 mg (prolonged-release melatonin) for patients who are aged 55 or over, as monotherapy for the short-term treatment (up to 13 weeks) of primary insomnia characterized by poor quality of sleep"
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