Circadin (Melatonin)

  • Helps the body adjust it's natural sleep pattern
  • Contains the natural hormone, Melatonin
  • Used to treat Jet Lag and changes in shift work schedules
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What is Circadin (melatonin)

Circadin is the brand name for melatonin, which is a naturally occurring hormone in your body that helps to control your sleep patterns. Circadin (melatonin) is a medicine to ease the symptoms of jet lag in people who are travelling over several time zones.

It is a prescription-only medication.

You can buy Circadin online from Medicine Direct after an online consultation with a certified doctor. After reviewing your answers in our simple online questionnaire, one of our registered health professional will prescribe this medicine for you. You can then order it from our registered online pharmacy. Place your order by 2pm and you will receive free next day delivery.

What is Circadin (melatonin) used to treat?

Circadin tablets are used to ease the symptoms associated with jet lag, which occurs when people travel across several different time zones in a short period of time.

Melatonin is the active ingredient contained in Circadin tablets. This hormone helps to regulate your body clock, acting on chemical receptors in the brain which will help you to sleep. Taking Circadin (melatonin) tablets will help to alter your normal circadian rhythm; this means you will be able to sleep when it is dark in your new time zone, as well as lessening the effects of jet lag.

Benefits of Circadin

Unlike other forms of medication to help you sleep, Circadin will not make you feel tired or groggy in the morning. This medication does not depress your central nervous system, unlike certain other hypnotic drugs and sleeping tablets.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

You are not advised to use Circadin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as there is not enough research to prove that this medicine is safe for your baby.

Small amounts of melatonin will pass into the breast milk, which can make your baby feel sleepier than normal.

Before you start taking Circadin, you should inform your doctor if you are currently pregnant, think you might be pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

Dosage

Always take Circadin (melatonin) tablets exactly as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before you start taking the medication. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for further guidance if you are still not sure how to take it.

If a doctor has prescribed melatonin for your child, follow their instructions very carefully.

For sleep problems and jet lag in adults, your doctor will prescribe 2mg slow-release tablets.

Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. They may instruct you to take Circadin two or three times a week, not each night.

Melatonin should not be taken for prolonged periods of time. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe it for you to use for up to 13 weeks.

Directions

For sleep problems, adults should take one 2mg tablet 1 to 2 hours before going to bed. Melatonin takes a couple of hours before it starts to work.

For jet lag, take one tablet at your normal bedtime when you arrive at the destination (no earlier than 10pm and no later than 4am). You can use Circadin for up to 5 consecutive nights. The number of days you will need to use this medication is the number of time zones divided by two, then add an extra day. If you have been across four time zones, divided four by two then ad an extra day. This would mean you would need to use Circadin for three days.

Swallow Circadin tablets whole with a drink of water. Do not crush or chew the tablets.

Take Circadin after food.

What if I forget to take it?

If you miss a dose of melatonin at bedtime, skip the missed dose and take it the next day at bedtime.

Never take two doses at the same time and never take a double dose to try and make up for missing a previous one.

What if I take too much?

An extra dose of melatonin is unlikely to do you any harm.

If you take too much melatonin, you should call 111 if you start to feel unwell.

If you are advised to go to hospital, do not drive yourself; get someone else to take you and take your medication and its packaging with you.

Who should and should not use Circadin (melatonin)?

Circadin tablets may not be suitable for everyone to use.

Melatonin medicines are normally prescribed to adults over the age of 55, to help relieve short-term sleep problems, such as jet lag.

If recommended by a doctor, adults under this age and children may also be prescribed Circadin.

You should not use this medication without speaking to your doctor first if:

  • You are allergic to melatonin or any of the other ingredients contained in this medication (please refer to the Ingredients tab for a full list)
  • You have had an allergic reaction to melatonin or any other medicines in the past
  • You suffer from lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or any other autoimmune condition
  • You have any liver or kidney problems

What is melatonin?


Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in your body. It is released from the pineal gland and helps you to sleep. Melatonin being released depends on darkness and is your body's natural way of helping you to sleep when it is night time. The release of melatonin happens in a circadian rhythm, which is the reason why you will feel tired at a similar time every night

How do I take Circadin tablets to prevent jet lag?


Take one tablet at bedtime when you arrive at your destination. The number of days you will need to use this medication is the number of time zones divided by two, then add an extra day. If you have been across four time zones, divided four by two then ad an extra day. This would mean you would need to use Circadin for three days. Some people may need the treatment for a day more or less, but this will depend on their normal sleep habits. Swallow the tablets whole.

What’s the difference between Circadin tablets and melatonin tablets you can buy in health food shop?


Circadin has a special prolonged release formulation that administers melatonin doses over 8-10 hours, whereas the melatonin medicines that can you can buy from food shops will release the medicine into your system all at once. By releasing large doses of melatonin immediately will not mimic your body's natural hormone levels. Because of this, these medicines are less likely to be effective and are more likely to cause adverse effects, such as abnormal dreams, headaches or dizziness. CIrcadin has been tested and is subject to standards by the Medicines Health Regulatory Authority in the UK. Because of this, it must have a batch number and expiration date. There is a traceable audit trial from manufacture to consumption, which ensures the medicine contains exactly what it states. A health food is not subject to this regulation.

When is the best time to take Circadin?


Circadin should be taken 1 or 2 hours before bedtime, beginning on the first day in your new destination. Take it at the same time every day.

Can you take alcohol and Circadin together?


You are not advised to drink alcohol while taking this medication. Alcohol disrupts your normal sleep pattern, which can undo Circadin's effects.

Does Circadin contain gluten?


No, this medicine does not contain gluten. It is safe to be taken by coeliacs.

Is Circadin suitable for vegetarians?e


Yes, this medication is perfectly suitable to be taken by vegetarians.

What to do if you miss a dose of Circadin?


If you miss a dose, just skip the missed dose and wait until the next day. Take your next scheduled dose at bedtime as usual. Never take two doses at once and do not take an extra dose to try and make up for missing a previous one.

How often can you use Circadin?


You should use this medicine continually to have an effect. It is not habit-forming, but you should not use it for prolonged periods of time. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist for guidance on how long you should use it for.

How does Circadin help me sleep?


Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in your body that is released from the brain's pineal gland during the night. It is your body's natural method of feeling tired when it is dark. If you have insomnia, it is often the result of having lower levels of melatonin. Circadin is a medication that releases melatonin over 8-10 hours, adding synthetic melatonin to the naturally occurring hormone in your body through the night. This helps to make you feel sleepy.

For how long should I take Circadin?


You can stop using this medication at any time. Do not take this medicine for longer than 5 days.

What are the benefits of Circadin?


Circadin helps to effectively relieve the symptoms of jet lag, allowing you to enjoy your travelling experience. By slowly releasing melatonin, this medication lets you regulate sleep without feeling groggy.

What is jet lag?


Jet lag is the result of travelling across more than one time zone in a short period. Your body can have trouble adjusting to this change in time, leaving you feeling tired, irritable and confused. This problem affects your sleeping pattern and makes you feel tired at abnormal times.

What is the so called 'body clock'?


Your body clock is an internal regulator of when you feel tired in a 24 hour cycle. When it is dark in the evening, your body generates melatonin, which is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates your sleep pattern. Daylight inhibits the production of this hormone, making you more alert and active.

How does jet lag actually occur?


Travelling to a different time zone upsets the natural cycle of melatonin production. The inhibition of melatonin production also upsets your sleeping pattern.

Side effects

Like all medicines, Circadin comes with the risk of certain side effects, although these will not affect everyone who takes it.

Melatonin medicines will not normally cause adverse effects in people, although the following reactions occur in more than 1 in 100 people:

  • Headaches
  • Abnormal dreams or night sweats
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling sleepy or tired during the day
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Dry or itchy skin
  • Pains in your arms or legs
  • Dry mouth

You should speak to your doctor or pharmacist if any of these reactions bother you or do not go away.

Please note, this list is not exhaustive. Please read the serious Side Effects section on this page for information on rarer and more serious adverse effects you might experience while taking this medicine.

Side Effects

A list of common side effects of Circadin can be found on the main product page.

Serious side effects of this medication are rare, occurring in less than 1 in every 1,000 people who use it.

Nonetheless, you must seek medical attention as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:

  • You get psoriasis
  • You feel faint or pass out
  • You start to feel sad or low (this may be a sign of depression)
  • You have any unexplained bruising or bleeding that does not stop, or you have blood in your urine
  • You start to feel dizzy, confused or things seem to be spinning around you
  • Your eyes become watery or you have blurred vision

Call 999 or go to A&E straight away if you have heart palpitations or chest pain.

Serious allergic reaction

In rare cases, you might experience a serious allergic reaction to Circadin.

You must call 999 or go to A&E straight away if:

  • You have swelling in your face, throat, mouth, lips or tongue
  • You have tightness in your chest or throat
  • You are wheezing
  • You get a skin rash that may have red, itchy, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • You are finding it difficult to breathe or speak

You may require immediate treatment in hospital.

Always read the patient information leaflet for comprehensive details on side effects.

If you have any concerns about side effects, we strongly advise you to discuss these worries with your doctor or pharmacist, before you start taking this medication.

Warnings and drug interactions

Please make sure you inform your doctor or pharmacist if you are currently taking any other medicines. This includes prescription and non-prescription medication, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

In particular, make sure you inform them if you are taking any of the following:

  • Any antidepressants
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Oestrogen medicines (used in hormone replacement therapy and contraceptives)
  • Opiate agonists or antagonists (used for drug addiction)
  • Psoralens
  • Warfarin (blood thinners)
  • Thioridazine
  • Zaleplon, zolpidem or zopiclone
  • Tryptophan supplements
  • Quinolones or rifampicin 
  • Cimetidine
  • Carbamazepine

Do not mix Circadin with herbal remedies; mixing melatonin with herbal remedies can increase the sedating effects, making you feel even sleepier.

Always read the patient information leaflet for comprehensive details on warnings and precautions to take.

If you have any questions or concerns about any aspect of this medication, we strongly advise you to speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Ingredients

The active ingredient contained in this medicine is 2mg melatonin.

Inactive ingredients also contained are: Ammonio methacrylate copolymer type B, calcium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate, silica (colloidal anhydrous), lactose monohydrate, talc and magnesium stearate.

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This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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