The Safety of Melatonin in Humans

Lars Peter Holst Andersen, Ismail Gögenur, Jacob Rosenberg, Russel J Reiter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

92 Scopus citations

Abstract

Exogenous melatonin has been investigated as treatment for a number of medical and surgical diseases, demonstrating encouraging results. The aim of this review was to present and evaluate the literature concerning the possible adverse effects and safety of exogenous melatonin in humans. Furthermore, we provide recommendations concerning the possible risks of melatonin use in specific patient groups. In general, animal and human studies documented that short-term use of melatonin is safe, even in extreme doses. Only mild adverse effects, such as dizziness, headache, nausea and sleepiness have been reported. No studies have indicated that exogenous melatonin should induce any serious adverse effects. Similarly, randomized clinical studies indicate that long-term melatonin treatment causes only mild adverse effects comparable to placebo. Long-term safety of melatonin in children and adolescents, however, requires further investigation. Due to a lack of human studies, pregnant and breast-feeding women should not take exogenous melatonin at this moment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-175
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Drug Investigation
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)

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