Presented – incorrectly — as a “miracle drug” and adorned with all the virtues, melatonin has filled the shelves of pharmacies since its launch in the 1990s
It is always sold without a prescription in the form of a food supplement or a medical prescription beyond the 2 mg. But the “hormone of the night” has been more or less ignored by the search. The few studies conducted to measure its effectiveness have shown that it can improve the sleep in special situations, provided you follow a time-taking and precise dosage.
“The results of this research are unknown, and a certain anarchy reigns in the consumption of this natural substance,” observes professor Carmen Schröder, a child psychiatrist and a sleep specialist at the university hospital of Strasbourg.
“The results of this research are unknown, and a certain anarchy reigns in the consumption of this natural substance” Pr Carmen Schröder, a child psychiatrist and a sleep specialist at the university hospital of Strasbourg It is this finding that led the French Society for research and sleep medicine (SFRMS) to develop recommendations, the first in France, on the prescription of melatonin. The work has been presented at the Congress of sleep in Marseilles and will be published in the coming months.
“The goal was to first recall its mode of action on the biological clock in order to limit the misuse, says professor Schröder, who has co-driver writing guidelines. Doctors are not trained in circadian rhythms during their studies. “” READ ALSO – Why the nap in the office should not be taboo “Light sleep”the role of melatonin, which is produced by a gland located at the back of the brain, is to prepare the human body in the sleep. Its secretion begins when the light declines and continues throughout the night, with a peak around 3 hours of the morning. A passage in “sleep mode” which causes a series of changes in the body, including a decrease in body temperature, cortisol levels and blood pressure.
“A treatment during adolescence can be considered if the lack of sleep has serious repercussions at school or in the family,” Pr Carmen Schröder, a child psychiatrist and a sleep specialist at the university hospital of Strasbourg, “It produces a mild soporific immediately after dosing, if the dose is large (2 to 5 mg)”, emphasizes the researcher, Bruno Claustrat, who has spent thirty years studying its effects. But the main interest of this hormone is due to its action of reprogramming of the biological clock, which made it a parade to be effective against the delayed phase of sleep. Are concerned all the “couche-tard” who, for genetic reasons, or economic, undergo in the day adverse effects of their lag – fatigue, irritability, absenteeism, etc, Without forgetting those who suffer regularly of the time differences. ” ALSO READ – small sleepers are more prone to dark thoughts, According to the learned society, the melatonin may be indicated in adolescence, a period when the physiological rhythm naturally moves toward evening. “A treatment may be considered if the lack of sleep has serious repercussions at school or in the family, says professor Schroeder. It is necessary to then take two to four hours before bedtime, at a dose of less than 1 mg and immediate release. ” Before this appeal of the order, behavioral approaches should be proposed, including the removal of the screens in the second part of the evening, the relaxation and the rituals of the evening.
Little effect secondairesAvec hindsight, the effects of the hormone on the insomnia of the daily have proven to be less successful. The High Authority of health deems “modest” effectiveness of Buenas, the only medication containing melatonin (2 mg) extended-release tablets. The SFRMS, it, portion in his favour, especially among the elderly over the age of 55. . “Several studies show that this treatment reduces the time before the onset of sleep and improves the subjective quality of sleep,” explains Dr. . Marie-Françoise Vecchierini, a neurologist at the Center of the sleep of the Hotel-Dieu (Paris). The group of experts also recommends that in the case of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, associating it with a bright light.
” READ ALSO – Why are we tired? “Several studies show that this treatment reduces the time before the onset of sleep and improves the subjective quality of sleep” Dr. . Marie-Françoise Vecchierini, a neurologist at the Center of the sleep of the Hotel-Dieu (Paris) Sold freely in the United States, melatonin has few side effects (mainly headache) and does not lead to addiction or withdrawal syndrome. “But it may interact with other medications, such as antidepressants and anticoagulants, and can cause unexpected reactions,” notes Bruno Claustrat. The safety studies on the long-term are rare.
The national Agency of sanitary safety of food, environment and labour (Anses), which is autosaisie after a series of adverse effects, must also decide shortly on its safety. This assessment is all the more expected that the consumption of melatonin’s known for five years, an impressive increase. . 1.
.4 million boxes of food supplements passed in the years 2016 and the sales of the drug have almost doubled in three years. Except as noted, the treatment is not reimbursed.
For Élise Haro, a pharmacist, it seems that “the search for solutions to “natural” is pushing the French to turn to this substance in order to sleep, in lieu of the benzodiazepines”. . .