What is melatonin used to treat?

As a supplement, melatonin has been used to treat insomnia; to aid in withdrawal from the use of benzodiazepines (drugs commonly used as relaxants or sedatives like Valium and Xanax); and to improve sleep in children with ADHD.

Melatonin has been shown effective in treating people who have altered circadian rhythms (like people with jet lag or who work night shifts) or who suffer from disrupted sleep (like older people and schizophrenics). For menopause, melatonin may help with associated sleep problems, but it does not relieve other menopause symptoms. For both breast and prostate cancer, melatonin may help in the treatment of those cancers. Melatonin may help improve the sleep quality of people who are withdrawing from benzodiazepines. It also may help improve sleep in children with ADHD.

Sometimes it is used to treat sunburn, irritable bowel syndrome, and epilepsy. For sunburn, melatonin may be used as a topical ointment, gel, or lotion to prevent skin damage. When used for irritable bowel syndrome, this supplement may help relieve abdominal pain and other symptoms of this condition. Some studies have shown that melatonin might reduce seizure frequency in children who have epilepsy.

Melatonin can interact with certain medications and may not be safe for all people, however, so talk to your doctor before using it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.