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Molecule Description

Melatonin is a natural hormone secreted by the pineal gland that helps to maintain the wake-sleep cycle. As a medicine, it is used in some sleep-related issues.

Uses of Melatonin

It is used to decrease the jet lag, adjust the sleep cycle and treat shift work disorders and general insomnia.

Contraindications of Melatonin

When should one not use Melatonin

Do not take this medicine if you are allergic to this medicine or its ingredients.

Side effects of Melatonin

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Sleepiness
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Precautions and Warnings of Melatonin


Can I take Melatonin during pregnancy?
It is not recommended in pregnancy. It may cause adverse effects on the unborn baby and the patient is advised to use contraception if taking this medicine.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Melatonin while breastfeeding?
It passes into breast milk and can cause adverse effects in breastfed babies. The patient is advised not to breastfeed if taking this medicine.


Can I drive if I have consumed Melatonin?
It may cause drowsiness and decreased alertness. It is advised not to take this medicine before driving.


Can I consume alcohol with Melatonin?
Alcohol decreases the effectiveness of this medicine, therefore avoid drinking alcohol if you are taking this medicine.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • You are lactose intolerance
  • You have a habit of smoking, as doing so will decrease Melatonin's effectiveness. Components present in tobacco smoke increases Melatonin breakdown in liver
  • You have liver disease or kidney disease
  • You are suffering from autoimmune disease

Mode of Action of Melatonin

How Does It Work?

Melatonin is synthesized from the Amino Acid Tryptophan and released in the blood and Cerebrospinal fluid that sends the message to the Melatonin receptor in the brain and other parts of the body to control the wake-sleep cycle.
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Interactions of Melatonin

Interactions with other medicines

  • Fluvoxamine (used for the treatment of depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) as it may increase the effect of Melatonin
  • Caffeine
  • Nifedipine
  • Estrogens (used in contraceptives or hormone replacement preparations), as it may increase the impact of Melatonin
  • Quinolones (used in the treatment of bacterial infections), as Quinolones may increase the effect of Melatonin
  • Benzodiazepines and Nonbenzodiazepine Hypnotics (medicines used to induce sleep, e.g. Midazolam, Temazepam and Zaleplon, Zolpidem, Zopiclone), as Melatonin may enhance the sedative effect of such medicines and may enhance specific side effects of Zolpidem (morning sleepiness, nausea, confusion)
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  • Warfarin (anticoagulants) as Melatonin may influence the outcome of the anticoagulant

Interactions with food items

This medicine should be taken with food. Do not take caffeine with Melatonin as it may reduce its effect.

Dietary Restrictions of Melatonin

No data available.

Dosage of Melatonin


If you take more than the usual dose by mistake, consult your doctor. Overdose may cause sleepiness, headache, etc.

Missed a Dose

  • If you forget to take a tablet at bedtime and wake during the night, you may take the forgotten dose
  • But do not double the dose to catch up the missed dose

Content Details


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: What should I discuss with my healthcare expert before taking this medicine?

A: Give a detailed account of your medical and surgical history. Also, mention to your doctor all the prescription and non-prescription medicines, herbal preparations and nutritional supplements that you may be taking before starting this medication.

Q: What should I avoid while taking Melatonin?

A: Avoid driving or operating machinery after taking this medicine for at least 4 hours. Do not take alcohol while on Melatonin.

Q: Can this medicine be taken in all cases of sleep related problems?

A: No, this medicine should be taken with doctor’s advice if the cause of sleep problems is related to the natural hormone Melatonin.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts. Please click here for detailed T&C.
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