Comparative study to determine the optimal melatonin dosage form for the alleviation of jet lag.


Suhner A, Schlagenhauf P, Johnson R




Chronobiol Int


To compare the impact of various dosage forms of melatonin and placebo on jet lag symptoms, 320 volunteers who had flights over 6 to 8 time zones were recruited for a double-blind, randomized, placebo- controlled study. The volunteers received either melatonin 0.5-mg fast-release (FR) formulation, melatonin 5-mg FR formulation, melatonin 2-mg controlled-release (CR) formulation, or placebo. The study medication was taken once daily at bedtime during 4 days after an eastward flight. The volunteers completed the Profile of Mood States (POMS), sleep log, and symptoms questionnaires once daily and the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale (KSS) three times daily prior to departure and during the 4 days of medication intake postflight. A total of 234 (73.1%) participants were compliant and completed the study. The FR melatonin formulations were more effective than the slow-release formulation. The 5-mg FR formulation significantly improved the self-rated sleep quality (p < .05), shortened sleep latency (p < .05), and reduced fatigue and daytime sleepiness (p < .05) after intercontinental flight. The lower physiological dose of 0.5 mg was almost as effective as the pharmacological dose of 5.0 mg. Only the hypnotic properties of melatonin, sleep quality and sleep latency, were significantly greater with the 5.0-mg dose.