Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body and responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. During the nighttime, Melatonin in the blood rises sharply which helps induce sleep. It is therefore commonly used for treating insomnia or jet lag. Melatonin level declines with age and thus greater benefit are observed in the elderly. Noted that Melatonin is typically taken for short-term use. Since Melatonin is a natural hormone, you are unlikely to become dependent on Melatonin or have a diminished response after repeated use.
Melatonin can be taken orally as tablets or capsules. If you are taking it for insomnia, you can start with 1 mg or 3 mg once daily first. If it does not work, you can increase it up to 10 mg once daily. You should take it 1-2 hours before sleep to have the maximum benefit. If you are taking it for jet lag, you may take 1.5 to 3 mg orally at 11 pm (local time in the destination country) on day 1, 10:30 pm on day 2, and 10 pm on day 3. Prolonged or extended-release Melatonin products should not be crushed.
Melatonin is safe and you are unlikely to experience side effects. However, joint pain, headache, and drowsiness may occasionally occur.
Common dosing schedule:
You can take Melatonin with or without food.
This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.
Some common medications Melatonin may interact with:
Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.
In Hong Kong, Melatonin can be an over-the-counter medicine or a prescription only medicine depending on the brands. Circadin prolonged-release Melatonin is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. Other brands of Melatonin are over-the-counter medicines and can be purchased without a prescription from any retail outlet in Hong Kong. This includes grocery stores, convenience stores, medicine shops, and pharmacies. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.
For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk
Need more information?
For detailed information about the use of Melatonin in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.
Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.