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Melatonin-small study report
« on: Dec 16th, 2002, 9:43am »
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Overall, reports on use of melatonin are not encouraging but some folks may wish to try it because it's cheap and pretty benign.
The last line of this report offers some guidance on its use.
Melatonin Ineffective for Cluster Headache Patients Who Fail Conventional Therapy
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Nov 22 - Melatonin does not appear to be a useful therapy for patients with cluster headache who achieve incomplete relief with conventional therapy, according to a recent report by Canadian researchers.
Given the periodic nature of cluster headaches, some researchers have suggested that the condition may involve a disturbance of the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, which regulates circadian rhythms. Because melatonin is known to shift circadian rhythms, it could be a useful treatment for cluster headaches.
In a previous study, melatonin was associated with a 50% response rate among patients who received the drug for the primary prophylaxis of episodic cluster headache. Still, it was unclear if such treatment would be useful for patients who have experienced incomplete relief with conventional therapy.
Dr. Tamara Pringsheim, from the Montreal Neurological Institute in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues evaluated the efficacy of melatonin therapy in nine patients with cluster headache.
Six patients had chronic cluster headache and three had the episodic form, the researchers note. All of the patients had experienced incomplete relief with conventional headache therapies. During the study, the patients were asked to keep a symptom diary while being treated with placebo for 1 month and with melatonin for 1 month. The patients were instructed to continue their usual medications throughout the study.
The researchers' findings are published in the September issue of Headache.
Treatment with melatonin was not associated with a reduction in the number of headaches per day or daily analgesic requirements. Furthermore, such treatment had no effect on the percentage of headaches that were classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
Differences in the melatonin formulation and the timing of administration may explain why patients in the earlier study responded to treatment, while those in the current study did not, the authors note. Also, it is possible that such therapy may only be useful for episodic, rather than chronic, cluster headache.
"There is only evidence at the present time to support the use of melatonin as primary therapy in episodic cluster headache with treatment to start at the beginning of the cluster period," Dr. Pringsheim's team concludes.
Headache 2002;42:787-792.
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Bob Johnson


Re: Melatonin-small study report
« Reply #1 on: Dec 17th, 2002, 8:19pm »
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Thanks for posting this, Bob. Even negative proof is good news.
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