Chapter Details

Pub Date: 16 Jan 2006
Pages: 11
Chapter Category: Neuropharmacology
Taken from the Book: Sleep and Sleep Disorders: A Neuropsychopharmacological Approach
Book Series: Special Books
Edited by: Malcom Lader, Daniel P. Cardinali and S.R. Pandi-Perumal

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Melatonin: A Chronobiotic that Not Only Shifts Rhythms

Dieter Kunz, Richard Mahlberg

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Today, a chronobiotic is defined as a substance capable of shifting the phase of the CTS\r\nand reentraining circadian rhythms that have been dissociated in the short-term, or\r\ndesynchronized in the long-term. The most widely recognized chronobiotic is melatonin.\r\nIts phase-shifting effects have been studied extensively. Surprisingly, the synchronizing\r\neffects of exogenous melatonin in patients suffering from long-term desynchronization (such\r\nas shift workers or the elderly) have not yet been tested. The chief goal of this manuscript is to\r\nbring this characteristic of melatonin back into the spotlight and emphasize that melatonin is a\r\nchronobiotic with multiple time-dependent effects. Another important goal of this paper is to\r\nstress that melatonin is a potent drug whose nonprescription use may have serious general\r\nhealth consequences.\r\n

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