Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Melatonin

This Fragile X mom I know on Facebook posted this morning about how her doctor has told her Melatonin may not be safe for her son to take anymore, and it's all that has been getting him to sleep at night.  She was shocked and upset, understandably, I'd feel the same way if Clonidine was suddenly unavailable, that's the only thing that I've seen effect a drastic change in our boys' sleep habits.  Anyway our boys take Melatonin too, it was actually the first drug we tried when they turned 2, to get them to sleep better and longer, because it was thought to be the mildest, safest thing we could give them.  So I did a little research online about Melatonin, and couldn't find any shocking recent news reports saying it might be unsafe to take long term.  Which was what I was looking for.  Nothing specific was out there.  I did find lots of other interesting facts about Melatonin, though.  Here's some of what I was able to dig up:

  • over the counter versions of Melatonin can contain synthetics and harmful additives
  • no one should ever take more than 7 MG
  • in small doses, e.g. 3 MG, it's not considered harmful although no long term studies on children have been done
  • it prevents ovulation
  • it can be harmful when mixed with steroids
  • don't take if you have an immune deficiency
  • melatonin based drinks (popular with teens) can be harmful; imbalances body functions
  • taking melatonin can cause a decrease in the body's natural ability to produce it
  • Melatonin has been shown to be an antioxidant, geroprotector and anticarcinogen.
from mayoclinic.com:

"It's thought that taking melatonin for longer than two months may be harmful, and the best dose of melatonin isn't certain. If you take melatonin, be careful during daytime activities, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. Talk to your doctor before taking melatonin, especially if you have any other health conditions.

If you take melatonin, make sure the supplements are made of artificial ingredients, not made from animals. Melatonin from animals can contain viruses or other contaminants."

from benbest.com:

"Melatonin was discovered in 1958 and named for its skin-bleaching effect upon melanin (skin pigment)."
 also
 "Melatonin reduces estradiol levels in the blood and inhibits aromatase expression in human breast cancer cells, both of which suggest that melatonin could be of of value in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer "
 and
 "Melatonin also reduces the hyperphosphorylation of tau protein, which leads to the neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer's Disease"
 and
 "Dosages in excess of 3 to 6 mg (milligrams) should not be necessary, and often lower doses are preferred, and equally effective for induction of sleep (if not the other benefits). "

from herbal-supplements-guide.com:

"Reported melatonin side effects include headaches, nausea, depression, nightmares and vivid dreams, irritability, abdominal cramps and dizziness."
 "Melatonin facts also point to negative effects on the reproductive system as well as decreased sex drive in both men and women."

"Since melatonin is a hormone, it can affect many internal body processes. Melatonin facts show that those with depression might experience worsening symptoms. Others at a higher risk of developing melatonin side effects are people with liver disease, seizure disorders and high blood pressure."
She mentioned that her son is showing symptoms of depression--how scary in a 9 year old.  I'm glad I had the motivation today to look up this drug that I've always assumed was the most harmless medication I could ever give the boys.  Good to know what we should be watching for, as the years go by, if we continue to use it. 

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Interesting stuff - thanks for posting this. We used to use melatonin nightly, but now we use clonidine, and only use melatonin if we really need to on a bad night.

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