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      Therapeutic Applications of Melatonin and Related Compounds

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          Increasing knowledge of the pharmacological effects of melatonin has suggested various possible therapeutic applications for the hormone. Because, as a natural substance, melatonin cannot be patented, melatonin-related compounds have been synthesized by industrial groups. The scope of such compounds is also to specifically target the recently discovered melatonin receptor subtypes. The sleep-inducing properties of melatonin are disputed, but are distinct from those of benzodiazepines. The observed effects on sleep latency or sleep efficiency, which remain to be confirmed, could be accounted for by the effects of melatonin on core body temperature and on circadian rhythms. There is also an urgent need for safety data, both in animals and in humans, particularly when long-term use is envisaged.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Variable bioavailability of oral melatonin.

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            Improvement of sleep quality in elderly people by controlled-release melatonin

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              Melatonin and jet lag: confirmatory result using a simplified protocol.

              This study replicates the alleviation of jet-lag with melatonin in a simplified protocol for eastward flight. At 22-n hr (n is the time-lag between the North American departure point and France), subjects took either melatonin (8 mg, n = 15), or placebo (n = 15) on the day of the return flight and for 3 consecutive days. On day 8, self-ratings significantly discriminated between melatonin and placebo for global treatment efficacy, morning fatigue, and evening sleepiness.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                March 1998
                16 March 1998
                : 49
                : 3-4
                : 142-146
                Hôpital Raymond Poincaré, Garches, France
                23161 Horm Res 1998;49:142–146
                © 1998 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                References: 55, Pages: 5


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