Clinical uses of melatonin in neurological diseases and mental and behavioural disorders

Emilio J. Sánchez-Barceló, Noemi Rueda, Maria D. Mediavilla, Carmen Martínez-Cué, Russel J. Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Background: Melatonin is a molecule with numerous properties applicable to the treatment of neurological diseases. Among these properties are the following: potent scavenger of oxygen and nitrogen reactive species, anti-inflammatory features, immuno-enhancing nature, and modulation of circadian rhythmicity. Furthermore, low concentrations of melatonin are usually found in patients with neurological diseases and mental disorders. The positive results obtained in experimental models of diverse pathologies, including diseases of the nervous system (e.g., Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington's disease, epilepsy, headaches, etc.) as well as mental and behavioural disordes (e.g., autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders, etc.), have served as a basis for the design of clinical trials to study melatonin's possible usefulness in human pathology, although the satisfactory results obtained from the laboratory "bench" are not always applicable to the patient's "bedside". Objective: In this article, we review those papers describing the results of the administration of melatonin to humans for various therapeutic purposes in the field of neuropathology. Conclusion: Clinical trials with strong methodologies and appropriate doses of melatonin are necessary to support or reject the usefulness of melatonin in neurological diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3851-3878
Number of pages28
JournalCurrent Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Headaches
  • Huntington's disease
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Melatonin
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sleep disorders
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery
  • Organic Chemistry


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