Melatonin in Medically Ill Patients With Insomnia: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(1):41-45
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: It has been suggested that melatonin
improves sleep functioning, but this possibility has not been
studied in medical populations.
Method: 33 medically ill persons with initial
insomnia were randomly assigned to receive either melatonin (N =
18) or placebo (N = 15) in a flexible-dose regimen. Double-blind
assessments of aspects of sleep functioning were obtained daily
across the next 8 to 16 days.
Results: The mean stable dose of melatonin was
found to be 5.4 mg. Relative to placebo, melatonin significantly
hastened sleep onset, improved quality and depth of sleep, and
increased sleep duration without producing drowsiness,
early-morning "hangover" symptoms, or daytime adverse
effects (p < .05). Melatonin also contributed to freshness in
the morning and during the day and improved overall daytime
functioning. Benefits were most apparent during the first week of
Conclusion: Melatonin may be a useful hypnotic
for medically ill patients with initial insomnia, particularly
those for whom conventional hypnotic drug therapy may be