Prolonged-release melatonin improves sleep quality and morning alertness in insomnia patients aged 55 years and older and has no withdrawal effects

Patrick Lemoine, Tali Nir, Moshe Laudon, Nava Zisapel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Melatonin, secreted nocturnally by the pineal gland, is an endogenous sleep regulator. Impaired melatonin production and complaints on poor quality of sleep are common among the elderly. Non-restorative sleep (perceived poor quality of sleep) and subsequently poor daytime functioning are increasingly recognized as a leading syndrome in the diagnostic and therapeutic process of insomnia complaints. The effects of 3-weeks prolonged-release melatonin 2 mg (PR-melatonin) versus placebo treatment were assessed in a multi-center randomized placebo-controlled study in 170 primary insomnia outpatients aged ≥55 years. Improvements in quality of sleep (QOS) the night before and morning alertness (BFW) were assessed using the Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire and changes in sleep quality (QON) reported on five categorical unit scales. Rebound insomnia and withdrawal effects following discontinuation were also evaluated. PR-melatonin significantly improved QOS (-22.5 versus -16.5 mm, P = 0.047), QON (0.89 versus 0.46 units; P = 0.003) and BFW (-15.7 versus -6.8 mm; P = 0.002) compared with placebo. The improvements in QOS and BFW were strongly correlated (Rval = 0.77, P < 0.001) suggesting a beneficial treatment effect on the restorative value of sleep. These results were confirmed in a subgroup of patients with a greater symptom severity. There was no evidence of rebound insomnia or withdrawal effects following treatment discontinuation. The incidence of adverse events was low and most side-effects were judged to be of minor severity. PR-melatonin is the first drug shown to significantly improve quality of sleep and morning alertness in primary insomnia patients aged 55 years and older-suggesting more restorative sleep, and without withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-380
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sleep Research
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Insomnia
  • Melatonin
  • Morning alertness
  • Sleep quality
  • Treatment
  • Withdrawal

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