Melatonin Side Effects & Warnings

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Postmenopausal women who take melatonin may experience reduced glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity.

A 2.5-mg dose of melatonin has hypothermic, but not soporific, effects during 66 min of intermittent exercise performed under moderate heat stress. The study also suggests that postexercise systolic hypotension is more marked after ingestion of melatonin.

This study advises caution in the uncontrolled use of melatonin in hypertensive patients. The pineal hormone might interfere with calcium channel blocker therapy and should not be considered simply a dietary supplement.

Caution should be exercised when driving under the influence of melatonin.

In the absence of sufficient information regarding the long term safety of exogenous melatonin, the conservative course of action is to restrict melatonin use to those therapeutic applications in which a significant benefit is expected. 

The decision to ingest melatonin should be preceded by careful consideration of the expected benefits as well as the potential costs of treatment, with recognition of the fact that there has been exaggeration of the benefits and little attention paid to the potential costs in most discussions of this issue to date.

Melatonin is available in the United States without prescription, and adverse effects appear to be uncommon. However, because melatonin appears to have immunomodulatory properties, the potential exists for the development of autoimmune-related side effects. 

The temporal relation observed between melatonin use and the development of autoimmune hepatitis raises the possibility that the drug might be involved in the pathogenesis of this patient's autoimmune disease


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