Understanding Insomnia Medications (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
What are pineal gland hormones (melatonin)?
Pineal gland hormones include
How pineal gland hormones work
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland (located in the brain) during the dark hours of the day-night cycle (circadian rhythm). Melatonin levels in the body are low during daylight hours. The pineal gland responds to darkness by increasing melatonin levels in the body. This process is thought to be integral to maintaining circadian rhythm. Ramelteon is a prescription drug that stimulates melatonin receptors. It promotes the onset of sleep and helps normalize circadian rhythm disorders. It is approved by the US FDA for insomnia characterized by difficulty falling asleep.
Who should not use these medications?
Uses: Swallow prescribed dose 30 minutes before bedtime on an empty stomach.
Drug or food interactions: Drugs that inhibit metabolism of melatonin and ramelteon, such as fluvoxamine (Luvox), may increase the risk for toxicity. Rifampin increases the metabolism of ramelteon, therefore decreasing its effectiveness. Melatonin has been reported to interfere with warfarin (Coumadin).
Pregnancy: Penal gland hormones are in Pregnancy Category C. This means there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women for pineal gland hormones. Consult a physician to determine if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when administered to a nursing woman as the effect of on a nursing infant is not known.
Medically reviewed by Peter O’Connor, M.D.
American Board of Otolaryngology with subspecialty in Sleep Medicine
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/26/2016
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