Melatonin Effective, Tolerable for Migraine Prevention

Melatonin is as effective as amitriptyline in preventing Migraine attacks and its side effects are more tolerable, according to researchers who presented at an American Academy of Neurology meeting earlier this year.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body naturally that regulates sleep/wake cycles. It's available as an over the counter supplement that's often suggested for use by people who struggle with sleep issues. Melatonin and its role in regulating the body has been linked to Migraine.

Amitriptyline is an antidepressant that's frequently used off-label for Migraine. It is an effective preventive medication for some patients with Migraine, but many deal with negative side effects.

Researchers compared 3 mg of immediate release melatonin with both 25 mg amitriptyline and placebo in patients experiencing between two and eight Migraine attacks a month. The melatonin was more effective than placebo and the same as amitriptyline.

The really good news for Migraine patients lies with the side effects comparison. Melatonin was associated with less daytime sleepiness and less weight gain than amitriptyline. In fact, study participants taking melatonin lost weight.

According to the lead researcher, the time the melatonin is taken is important. To mimic the body's natural peak, it should be taken between 10 and 11 pm and an immediate rather than slow or extended release form should be used.

This option may be something to talk over with your Migraine care team. Remember, never make changes to your medication without consulting your health care provider. Melatonin is not safe for use with certain other types of medication, including those that thin the blood or suppress the immune system, but it's never appropriate to make medication changes on your own.

In a prior study melatonin was not determined to help with Migraine prevention. That study differed from this one in a few ways: the medication was slow release, it lasted just eight weeks and there was a small sample size.1,2

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