Medically Reviewed on 10/24/2022

Brand Name: N/A

Generic Name: melatonin

Drug Class: N/A

What is melatonin, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the body. Commercially available melatonin that is sold as medicine is produced in the laboratory. Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Check with your healthcare professional before using herbs or other supplements.

Melatonin is used for sleeplessness and adjusting sleep-wake cycles due to jet lag or work schedule changes.

Melatonin is also used for the treatment of:

What brand names are available for melatonin?


Is melatonin available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for melatonin?


What are the side effects of melatonin?

Side effects of melatonin include:

What is the dosage for melatonin?

  • Sleeplessness, sleep-wake cycle changes:
    • Take 0.3 to 5 mg by mouth daily at bedtime.
  • Migraine headaches:
    • Take 3 to 10 mg by mouth daily at bedtime.

Which drugs or supplements interact with melatonin?

Melatonin should be used with caution with birth control medications and fluvoxamine (Luvox) because they increase melatonin levels in the body and cause increased sedation.

Melatonin should be used with caution with medications like:

These drugs cause increased sedation.

Melatonin should be used with caution with medications like:

These drugs increase the risk of bleeding and bruising.


Sleep Disorders: Foods That Help Sleep or Keep You Awake See Slideshow

Is melatonin safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

  • There are no adequate studies done on melatonin to determine safe and effective use in pregnant women.
  • It is not known whether melatonin enters breast milk. It is best for nursing mothers to avoid using melatonin.

What else should I know about melatonin?

What preparations of melatonin-oral are available?
  • Melatonin is available in 1 mg, 3 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg strengths.
  • Melatonin is available in tablets, capsules, chewable gummies, sublingual tablets, and in liquid form.
How should I keep melatonin-oral stored?
  • Melatonin is usually stored at room temperature.


Melatonin is a supplement used for the short-term treatment of insomnia. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions should be reviewed before taking this supplement.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Medically Reviewed on 10/24/2022
Medically reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP; Board Certified Emergency Medicine


Medscape: Melatonin (Herbs/Suppl) N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, pineal hormone

Medline Plus, National Library of Medicine