Choosing Generic Vs Branded Melatonin


Generic medicines contain the same active ingredient and are equally effective and medically equivalent as the branded products but are available at a lower price. Generic manufacturers have to demonstrate that they are medically identical to the branded product - i.e. they offer the same quality, strength, stability and effectiveness.

Generic medicines are required meet the same standards of safety, quality and efficacy as the branded medication. To receive market approval from the European Medicines Agency and MHRA, a generic medicine must be 'bioequivalent' to the originator product.


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What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a natural hormone that our body releases after the onset of darkness. It makes people feel sleepy and it helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.

Melatonin is licensed for the treatment of jet-lag and it has been found to be particularly effective in those travelling eastwards.

It can also be used short-term in people aged 55 and over, who find it difficult to get to, or to stay, asleep.

How can I buy melatonin?

Melatonin is a Prescription Only Medicine (POM) and cannot be bought over the counter.

Is there anybody who cannot use Melatonin?

Melatonin should not be taken by anybody with a hypersensitivity to any of the ingredients.
It is not recommended for use in those with an autoimmune disease.
Melatonin should be used in caution in people with renal or liver impairment and you should speak to your doctor before use as its use is not recommended.
Melatonin interacts with various medicines and you should discuss with your doctor before use if you are taking other medications.
Some of the medicines that can interact with Melatonin include fluvoxamine, contraceptive or hormone replacement therapy oestrogens, quinolones, carbamazepine, and rifampicin.

How do I take Melatonin?

The usual dose is one 3mg tablet to be taken by mouth after food, 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. Tablets should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. Do not chew or crush.

It should not be taken before 8pm or after 4am in the time zone that you are in and should not be taken for more than 5 days in a row.

If one tablet is ineffective, the dose can be increased to a maximum of two 3mg tablets (6mg).

Side Effects

Side effects with melatonin are uncommon.

Melatonin can cause drowsiness, so it is important not to drive or operate machinery within 8 hours of taking it.

Recent studies have suggested melatonin may increase the risk of falls, accidents, memory disturbance, dependence and withdrawal symptoms and an increased risk of dementia.

In addition, melatonin can cause anxiety, fatigue, dry mouth, abdominal discomfort, a rise in blood pressure and mood changes.

Very rarely, melatonin has been associated with aggression, muscle complaints, seizures, urinary problems and vomiting.

Always read the label of any medication that you take and only take according to the instructions provided. Do not exceed the stated dose.

Information Leaflet

Patient Information Leaflet

Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.

Authored 02 April 2020 by Dr Clare Morrison, Reviewed 02 April 2020 by Liyya Patel, Siobhan Titre Last updated 02 April 2020

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Dr Clare Morrison

General Practitioner (Prescriber)
GMC: 3441561

Avnish Patel

GPhC: 2079950

Rukhsana Deshmukh

Superintendent Pharmacist
GPhC: 2070765