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Melatonin improves mood in winter depression

Most patients, typically phase-delayed types or "night owls," have misalignment that responded best to taking low-dose melatonin in the afternoon or evening. A longer-than-expected subgroup of SAD patients, phase-advanced types or "morning larks," responded best to taking low-dose melatonin in the morning. Melatonin did not cause drowsiness, because the doses used were lower than what is usually taken at bedtime.

In addition to bright light exposure, another treatment may be in the offing once low-dose, sustained-release melatonin formulations become available. "However, people in the phase-advanced subgroup should use these treatments at different times of the day than the typically phase-delayed type of patient," explained Lewy, adding that more research is needed.

Lewy is the Richard H. Phillips Professor of Biological Psychiatry, senior vice chairman of psychiatry, and director of the Sleep and Mood Disorders Lab, OHSU School of Medicine.


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Source:Oregon Health & Science University


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