Melatonin is a natural, over-the-counter supplement many people take to help them relax and get a better night’s sleep. But what if the inexpensive medicine could also prevent migraines?
That’s the question researchers in Brazil posed in a new study in which they compared melatonin with a common preventative medication called amitriptyline.
Patients were randomized to a melatonin, amitriptyline, or placebo group and followed for 12 weeks. Researchers then recorded the number of migraines each person reported each month. They also looked at severity of the migraines, the duration, and the number of pain relievers consumed during each episode.
The results showed that both melatonin (3 mg) and the amitriptyline (25 mg) were equally superior to the placebo for decreasing the number of migraines per month. But, the most surprising finding was that melatonin was found to work better than amitriptyline for decreasing migraine frequency by at least 50%.
More studies will be performed to confirm these results and to study other melatonin dosages (5mg, 10 mg) and formulations (i.e. fast dissolving, spray).
Even more good news: The participants did not report any serious side effects throughout the 12-week study. The most common side effect reported with melatonin and amitriptyline was drowsiness. These medications are normally taken at bedtime, but morning sleepiness is still a common side effect. More sleepiness was reported in the amitriptyline group.
Melatonin is a safe, natural medicine. It is readily available without a prescription and an inexpensive therapy that has potential to improve the quality of life of migraine sufferers.
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