Is Melatonin Effective in the Treatment of Sleep Disorders?

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2019.0103-0105

german translation / full article

Andreas Sönnichsen

QuestionSleep disorders are frequent reasons for encounter in family practice. Usually they are treated with benzodiazepines or z-substances, but these drugs should not be prescribed for longer periods of time, particularly not for older patients. Could melatonin (Circadin®) be an effective and safe alternative in these cases?Answer The data on the general treatment of sleep disorders with melatonin are inconsistent and inadequate. There is some evidence that melatonin in older people may shorten sleep latency and improve sleep quality. However, large, randomized controlled, long-term studies of high quality are required in order to make valid recommendations. The best data are available for the prevention and treatment of jet lag. Here, a cautious recommendation can be made. However, melatonin with delayed release should rather not be used. Certain patient groups may also benefit from melatonin intake, but data regarding these indication are currently insufficient.

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