Circadin is a medication used by people with chronic insomnia or trouble falling asleep. The FDA approved it as an effective treatment for different sleep disorders such as circadian rhythm disorders, delayed sleep phase syndrome, and non-24-hour sleep/wake disorder.
It works by stimulating melatonin production in your body, which helps to regulate your sleep cycles. Circadin does not require a prescription and can be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies. This blog post will cover what you need to know about Circadin: how it works, who can take it, potential side effects, and more!
What is Circadin?
It is a drug that contains melatonin as an active substance. This medicine comes in white prolonged-release tablets (2 mg). The melatonin content is released from the tablet bit by bit, hence the term prolonged-release. On the other hand, melatonin is a hormone that majorly comes from the pineal gland at night and is linked with the control of sleep patterns and quality.
What is Circadin Used for?
This drug is used as a short-term treatment of poor quality sleep (primary insomnia) in patients who are 55 years and above. Primary insomnia is a sleeplessness condition not linked to a pre-existing medical condition, mental disorder, or any environmental cause.
Initially, when the FDA approved this drug, you could only obtain it with a prescription from your physician. Today, you can access it in pharmacies without a prescription. Even so, this drug should not be abused.
How Does Circadin Work?
It works by stimulating melatonin production in your body, which helps to regulate your sleep cycles. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm by controlling the sleep and wake cycle. The natural release of this hormone increases when it starts getting dark and gets to its peak in the middle of the night. However, older people have reduced levels of melatonin production even at night, contributing to the development of primary insomnia.
When Circadin tablets are consumed, they get absorbed into the blood and release melatonin hormone into the system bit by bit over a few hours. This release of melatonin slowly over some hours mimics the natural production of melatonin in the body system. This production helps to improve sleep cycles, induce better quality sleep, and enhance morning alertness.
Who Can Take Circadin?
Circadin is used as a monotherapy for the treatment of insomnia. The medication is recommended for patients aged 55 or older who have poor quality. The recommended dosage is a maximum of 2 mg daily. It should be taken after food and 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. The dosage can be prolonged up to thirteen weeks, but a doctor should advise on this.
A physician may also prescribe Circadin to adults below the age of 55 years and, in some cases, to children. The pediatric dosage is 0.25 mg/ day, and the drug should be administered 30 minutes before bedtime to reduce sleep latency and improve sleep quality.
Potential Side Effects of Taking Circadin
Like any other drug, the consumption of Circadin has some side effects. The seriousness of the side effects depends on the individual and their medical history. The most common side effects of taking Circadin include:
- Dizziness and sleepiness
- Abnormal dreams
- Lack of energy
Other rare but severe side effects may include
- Abnormal nervous system functioning
- Stomach cramps
If you experience any of these side effects, seek medical attention immediately. If you have any history of developing side effects from the use of particular drugs, explain it to your physician before you start using Circadin.
When to Avoid Taking Circadin
Here are cases where one should avoid taking the drug even when they are above 55 years:
- Anyone who is allergic to any of the ingredients used in its formulation
- Anyone driving or operating machinery should not use this drug because it can cause drowsiness and dizziness.
- Anyone planning to take alcohol or is already intoxicated with alcohol should avoid Circadin or any other drug. You should not take drugs and alcohol together.
- People with a history of seizures or epilepsy. Patients with severe depression or suicidal thoughts should also avoid this drug.
- Anyone with a pre-existing medical condition such as heart problems, low blood pressure, or heart failure must consult their doctor before taking Circadin.
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should only take it after consultation with their doctor.
Take note of the expiry date before taking this drug.
Circadin has several health benefits, including improved sleep quality and enhancing morning alertness. The drug works by releasing melatonin hormone bit by bit into the body system to induce sleep. Despite the benefits, Circadin can have some side effects, including headache, dizziness, and nausea, among others. This drug should only be used after a consultation with a physician or pharmacist.