Melatonin in Epilepsy

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a disorder in which there are frequent seizures. The symptoms of epilepsy range from having a totally blank state to a state of unconsciousness. Having two seizures with no obvious cause is diagnosed as epilepsy.

Epileptic seizures are focal or generalized.

Focal seizures start in one part of the brain and can spread to other parts of the brain.

Generalized seizures involve all parts of the brain.

What causes epilepsy is not found in more than half of the people suffering from them.(1) Some of the common causes of epilepsy are:

Epileptic seizures can cause harm when performing common activities that can lead to dangerous complications.

For e.g. if someone is driving and gets a seizure, this can lead to accidents. If someone gets a seizure in a swimming pool there is a possibility of fracturing the skull and other bones.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced in the brain and is also available as a supplement.

Its supplements are used as a complementary treatment for various ailments such as insomnia and anxiety.

Melatonin regulates the body’s internal clock and reminds your body when it’s time to fall asleep and when it is time to wake up.

Melatonin is produced by the body at night in a dark environment. It is produced less in the brightly lit environment. It helps the body adjust to jet lag, work schedule, and sleep problems.

It is can also be used as a complementary treatment for:

Melatonin in Epilepsy

The levels of melatonin can fluctuate in those suffering from epilepsy. The levels of melatonin can fall below average in those with epilepsy.

The levels of melatonin increase dramatically after a seizure.(2) A study showed, children, suffering from epilepsy, if taking melatonin supplements at bedtime slept well.(3)

In Children

Melatonin proves to be useful in children who have trouble falling asleep, those with epilepsy, ADHD, and other conditions. It is important to consult a doctor before starting melatonin for any child.

Melatonin supplements are not approved by the FDA for treating sleep difficulties and epilepsy. It is recommended to give the child the lowest possible dosage.

Taking melatonin supplements at bedtime helps in treating sleep problems caused by epilepsy.

Side Effects of Melatonin

A few negative side effects that can result due to melatonin supplements are:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Mild anxiety
  • Feelings of depression

Excess of melatonin can worsen the effects

Research on the use of melatonin for epilepsy has mixed results. It may improve social well-being and sleep. More studies are needed to study its effect on epilepsy.

If wanting melatonin as a treatment for epilepsy, it is important to speak with a doctor and start it on his approval. Mixing melatonin with other medicines can be dangerous.

Taking melatonin for epilepsy can help regulate sleep routine and help the body produce more melatonin.

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