” melatonin is not a treatment of choice for sleep disorders : efficacy uncertain beyond a placebo effect, it exposes to adverse effects, in particular neuropsychiques, skin and digestive. “This is what we can read in the latest issue of Prescribing. In France, according to the dose contained in a unit, this hormone is considered a drug or a food supplement. This is only from 2 mg per dose that it has the status of a drug, described in ” primary insomnia in patients aged 55 years or more.” But some dietary supplements may contain 1.9 mg and marketed with a claim of the type : “helps to reduce the time taken to fall asleep “.

melatonin is a hormone secreted primarily in the brain by the pineal gland (called pineal gland), but also by the retina, gut, skin, platelets and the bone marrow. Its main function is to inform the agency of the alternating day-night, which helps to promote the onset of sleep. But, as pointed out in the monthly booked in the medical corps, she seems to have other effects on mood, immune system, motor skills bowel and sexual behaviour (increase libido). She is also involved in the regulation of body temperature.

90 side effects

From 2009 to may of 2017, the national Agency of sanitary security of food (Anses) has collected 90 side effects linked to the consumption of food supplements containing melatonin. As to the national security Agency of the drug (MSNA), it has collected more than 200 adverse reactions related to the use of melatonin, whatever its status, between 1985 and 2016. It was especially neurological disturbances (syncope, drowsiness, headache, seizures in 43% of cases) and psychological (anxiety, depressive disorders in 24 %), and skin problems-type eruptions, and various digestive problems (vomiting, constipation, damage to the pancreas). Heart rhythm disturbances have been observed. Fortunately, they regress with the discontinuation of this hormone.

Prescribing also points out that interactions are possible with many drugs. They are likely to decrease their effectiveness and/or add their adverse effects. To this is added the fact that ” data abnormal observed in the animal encourage the greatest possible caution regarding the use of melatonin during pregnancy “, even if the studies were done with very high doses, and that” a potential long-term toxicity has hardly been explored “. It is easier to understand, in these conditions, the appeal to prudence launched, once again, by the authors of this article. Their conclusion is accurate : “melatonin is not a treatment of choice for sleep disorders. “