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Melatonin

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Dr. Sarah Donald Clinical Lead

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Melatonin FAQs

What is Melatonin?

This is a popular jet lag treatment for adults. It helps maintain a regular sleep pattern and normalize the body clock when travelling between time zones. The medication contains the active ingredient 'melatonin', a naturally occurring hormone in the body.

How does Melatonin work?

Melatonin contains the hormone of the same name which plays an essential role in maintaining the body's circadian rhythms. Sleep patterns are regulated by this hormone and control when you feel awake and when you feel sleepy. Usually, higher levels are produced when it is dark outside, causing the body to grow more tired.

Melatonin-based medications can help with jeg lag induced sleep disruption as the synthetic version of the hormone is supplied to the body, counteracting disturbances to the natural sleep pattern.

What are the benefits of Melatonin?

Though it is only temporary, jet lag can be particularly frustrating for travellers as it can not only spoil the beginning of a holiday, but also disrupt sleeping patterns upon your return. Symptoms such as a loss of energy and tiredness can take several days to overcome and be especially problematic for business travellers who need to function at their best from the moment of arrival.

Melatonin also allows your sleep patterns to adjust more naturally than through the use of sleeping pills, which have associated risks such as addiction and other side effects.

When tested in a clinical setting, 32% of patients reported significant improvements in sleep quality compared to the group taking the placebo.

How do I take Melatonin tablets?

Melatonin tablets are to be taken orally once daily, with the first dose administered at bedtime after arrival at your destination. Doses should not be taken before 8 PM or after 4 AM, in order to regulate your sleeping pattern.

The treatment is only to be used short-term from arrival at your destination and/or on your return. Our doctors recommend to not exceed a maximum of 16 treatment courses per year.

If you are taking a melatonin-based treatment, you should avoid consuming alcohol, as this can affect the efficacy of the medication.

What dosages are available for Melatonin?

This medication should be taken short-term, with one 3mg immediate-release tablet taken daily. If necessary, the dose can be increased up to 6mg daily. The maximum duration of the treatment should not exceed 5 days.

There is also a 2mg prolonged-release tablet available. This is an off-label prescription that should be taken once daily, 20 to 30 minutes before sleep at your new destination.

Are there any side effects when taking Melatonin?

Side effects are not very common with this treatment, but mild reactions, such as irritability, dry mouth, and anxiety may occur. If you notice any serious side effects, or find you are concerned, you should seek medical attention immediately.

More common Less common Less common
Headache Dizziness Mood swings
Inflammation of the throat Stomach pain Increased libido
Back ache Constipation Priapism
Muscle weakness Weight gain Skin problems

What are the precautions/interactions of Melatonin?

Melatonin is a prescription medication and as such is not suitable for everyone. Certain health conditions preclude patients from the treatment, such as autoimmune disease or kidney or liver problems. If you are currently taking any other medications, either prescription or over-the-counter, then you must inform our doctors, as some medications interact with melatonin, and thus affect whether it is suitable for you to take.

For further information about side effects, precautions and interactions, please refer to the patient information leaflet. This is included with your medication and is available for download towards the bottom of this page.

How can I buy Melatonin online safely?

If you would like to buy this treatment online, you will require a valid prescription. Thankfully, the comfortable and secure service of HealthExpress includes both medication and prescription.

All you need to do is complete a quick online consultation form. This will be reviewed by one of our doctors who will then confirm if melatonin is a safe treatment for you. Once your order has been approved, you will be issued with a valid prescription. Your medication is then packaged discreetly and dispensed with free express shipping. You can expect your order by the next working day.

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