Here we look at the claims for melatonin.
Some potential for harm
No or limited evidence that it is effective
The makers claim
Melatonin has been suggested as a treatment for tinnitus because of its effects on sleep, blood pressure and antioxidant properties.
What is the treatment?
Melatonin is usually prescribed as a tablet which you take once a day.
What are the downsides of this treatment?
Melatonin is generally considered safe. However, minor side effects are quite common. It can interact with many other common medications. It may not be suitable for people with liver or kidney problems, or for people with an autoimmune condition (eg rheumatoid arthritis or multiple sclerosis).
Has there been research into this treatment?
Yes there has.
What does the research say?
Because of biases in the evidence base, it cannot be said whether melatonin is effective for tinnitus or not.
Melatonin seems to improve sleep disturbance linked to tinnitus.
The evidence levels for melatonin supplementation treating tinnitus are low.
Melatonin should only be obtained via prescription and taken under the supervision of a medical
Several guidelines recommend against taking this supplement .
Melatonin is only available on prescription in the UK. It is licensed only for treating insomnia in the over 55s. The situation may be different elsewhere.
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All online references accessed 28 October 2022 unless noted.
1. NHS. Melatonin for sleep problems. Available from https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/melatonin/
2. Miroddi M, Bruno R, Galletti F, Calapai
F, Navarra M, Gangemi S, Calapai G.
Clinical pharmacology of melatonin in the treatment of tinnitus: a review. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. (2015)
Mar;71(3):263-70. doi: 10.1007/s00228-
015-1805-3. Epub 2015 Jan 20.
3. Coelho C, Tyler R, Ji H, Rojas-Roncancio E, Witt S, Tao P, Jun HJ, Wang TC, Hansen MR, Gantz BJ. Survey on the Effectiveness of Dietary Supplements to Treat Tinnitus. American Journal of Audiology. (2016) 25(3): 184-205
4. Cima RFF, Mazurek B, Haider H et al. A multidisciplinary European guideline for tinnitus: diagnostics, assessment, and treatment. HNO 67 (Suppl 1), 10–42
5. Tunkel DE, Bauer CA, Sun GH, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Tinnitus. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. (2014).151(2_suppl): S1-S40.