Melatonin prevents migraine headaches

Melatonin does seem to help prevent migraine headaches according to a new study by Brazilian researchers just presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. In my previous post over two years ago I wrote about a negative study that showed no benefit from 2 mg of extended release melatonin given to 46 migraine sufferers. This new study was also blinded and it compared 3 mg of immediate release melatonin with placebo and with 25 mg of amitriptyline, which is one of the oldest preventive drugs for migraines.
This was a larger study – it involved 196 patients who suffered from 2-8 attacks of migraine with or without aura each month. The number of headache days dropped by 2.7 days in the melatonin group, 2.18 for amitriptyline, and 1.18 for placebo. Melatonin significantly reduced headache frequency compared to placebo, but not to amitriptyline. Not surprisingly, melatonin was better tolerated then amitriptyline. Considering its safety and very low cost, it is worth considering a trial of 3 mg of melatonin for the prevention of migraine headaches. Some studies have suggested that taking a much smaller dose of 0.3 mg (300 mcg) of melatonin may be more effective for insomnia than taking a much larger dose. It would be interesting to see if this also applies to the treatment of migraine headaches.

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  1. Dr. Mauskop says: 05/18/20155:28 pm

    There is no danger in taking 3 mg of melatonin, but 0.3 mg might be sufficient, especially for insomnia. For cluster headaches the recommended dose is 10 mg every night.

  2. Morgan says: 05/18/20155:09 pm

    My neurologist just recommended I try 3mg of melatonin for migraine prevention. Would you suggest trying a conservative dose of 0.3mg first or start with 3mg? I also have insomnia so I was kind of hoping it might help with both! Also, im only 29- since my body likely still makes enough melatonin, is it dangerous to take a supplement? Thank you!

  3. Matt says: 04/25/20131:41 am

    Although the link between melatonin and headaches has increased with various studies, there has been no standard dosage for supplements containing this hormone. It has historically not been regulated by government or medical organizations. For that reason, the amount of the hormone in different products varies. Finding the correct dose might take some experimentation, so it is advisable for it to be used in moderation until the patient’s tolerance of the supplement is established.

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