Melatonin is a neurohormone produced in the pineal gland and is a regulator of the human circadian rhythm, which is responsible for daily sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin receptors (MT1 and MT2) are located both centrally and peripherally. The physiological effects of melatonin are a result of melatonin receptor activation. In addition to sleep regulation, melatonin has shown potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects in clinical studies. Pharmacologic use of melatonin for various conditions or disorders is fairly common. This course reviews the physiologic and pharmacologic effects of melatonin, including therapeutic benefits and dosing guidelines in various disorders, and highlights areas for future research.
Summer Kramer, PharmD, is founder and president of SummerSkin, LLC, in Portland, Oregon. She received her PharmD from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque in 2009.
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