Melatonin for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Melatonin for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Reference: Lewy AJ, Bauer VK, Cutler NL, Sack RL. Melatonin treatment of winter depression: A pilot study. Psychiatry Res 1998; 77:57-61.

Summary: Very low dose melatonin was used to treat ten patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The volunteers were randomized to take a dose of 0.125 mg melatonin eight hours after waking and four hours later or placebo. This dosing pattern was used in an attempt to shift the patients' circadian rhythms. Higher doses of melatonin have been shown to increase sleepiness in other studies according to the authors. After two weeks of therapy, all patients taking melatonin had at least a 39% improvement in their Hamilton Depression Scale (SAD version). Only one patient randomized to placebo showed this great an improvement. The difference between the two groups was significant. Only one patient taking melatonin reported feeling sleepy after ingesting the capsules, and was shifted to taking the capsules at night with minimal improvement. The authors conclude that their results, though preliminary, suggest that 0.125 mg melatonin in the afternoon can help patients with SAD.

Natural Product Research Consultants, Inc.


By E. Yarnell

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