Melatonin's efficacy in stroke patients; a matter of dose? A systematic review

Eva Ramos, Víctor Farré-Alins, Javier Egea, Francisco López-Muñoz, Russel J. Reiter, Alejandro Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


There is a lack of effective therapies for stroke patients; its treatment is even more difficult considering the unexpected onset of the disease. In the last decade, melatonin has emerged as a promising neuroprotective agent which is able to cross the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) and with a low toxicity profile. The aim of this systematic review was to summarize and critically review clinical and pre-clinical evidence related to melatonin's effectiveness as a stroke treatment. Together with a comparative dose extrapolation with those used in the selected randomized controlled trials (RCTs), and based on these data to discuss whether the administered doses correlate with those advisable in human patients. To address this purpose, we performed a systematic review of the available literature. A total of 529 records were screened with the selecting of six full articles containing RCTs that met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. The evidence drawn from these six reports was analyzed to identify remaining gaps, treatment efficacy, and to suggest future directions. The primary outcome reported was the reduction of the oxidative response; the secondary outcome was the increase of the survival rate of the patients in the intervention groups. Calculations derived from animal studies revealed that the translational doses to humans were substantially higher than those employed in the RCTs. The findings of this systematic review revealed that there are insufficient RCTs to prove melatonin's value in stroke patients. Nevertheless, the evidence is promising, and further clinical research may support the benefits of melatonin in stroke patients, if the adequate dose is administered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114933
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Melatonin
  • Stroke
  • Systematic review
  • Translational doses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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