Melatonin therapy effective in treating primary insomnia

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Insomnia is a highly prevalent condition, with up to a third of the general adult populace thought to suffer from insomnia at some time. Insomnia is generally associated with a negative impact on day-to-day functioning and has been noted to have co-morbid associations with a variety of psychiatric conditions.

Melatonin, an endogenous sleep regulating hormone, has been mooted as a potential therapy for this debilitating condition. Endogenous melatonin production is known to decrease as a person ages, therefore it has been hypothesised that treatment with this hormone may be efficacious in treating insomnia in the elderly population. However results from studies have often proved contentious, with a lack of consistency in the results seen in differing age groups exposed to melatonin therapy.

Results from a recently published randomized controlled trial in BMC Medicine have now shed new light on this controversial subject. Wade et al examined the use of prolonged release melatonin (PRM) in sufferers of primary insomnia across a wide range of ages. Their results showed that PRM is particularly effective and well tolerated in patients aged 65 years and over, with the treatment response increasing and being sustained over a 6 month period.

If you wish to learn more about this fascinating result and an array of other high impact articles visit the BMC Medicine website.