Melatonin and Warfarin

Insomnia, a medical condition involving difficulty falling asleep, and other sleep problems are reported by about 65% of Americans as occurring a few times per week. Nearly half of those polled, about 44%, say they experience the same sleep problems almost every night.1 Not getting the proper rest at night can lead to decreased quality of life during the day and can also contribute to poor health. When insomnia begins to interfere with day-time activities, medications may be recommended as treatment.2One such medication or supplement that can be used to relieve symptoms of insomnia is melatonin, a hormone that naturally occurs in the body.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, melatonin is a natural hormone found in the human body and plays a role in sleep. The human body’s production and release of melatonin is related to the time of day, with the hormone level rising in the evening and falling in the morning. While taking melatonin as a supplement can help with insomnia, it should be limited to short term use. Less is known about its long term safety.3

Does this interact with Warfarin?

The FDA regulates dietary supplements such as melatonin, but the regulations are different and less strict than those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs.3 Interactions with prescription medications may not be fully known as large scale clinical trials are not required for supplements.

Just like with any other new supplement or medication, caution should be used while taking this medication along with warfarin, or brand of warfarin such as Coumadin®, as it may increase your INR or anticoagulation effects. Be sure to discuss taking melatonin with your healthcare provider before beginning to use this or any new supplement. You should also discuss your insomnia and other sleep issues with your physician as there may be other options to improve your ability to fall asleep at night that don’t require medication.

References:

1. www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-america-polls/2008-sleep-performance-and-the-workplace

2. Neubauer, D, MD. The Evolution and Development of Insomnia Pharmacotherapies.J Clin Sleep Med.2007 August 15; 3(5 Suppl): S11–S16.

3. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/melatonin?nav=fbMelatonin: What you need to know

COUMADIN is a trademark of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharma Company. Alere is not affiliated or associated with Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharma Company or the COUMADIN trademark.