Can melatonin ease Effexor-induced insomnia? (3+ tips)
In this article, we will discuss the effect of melatonin on Effexor-induced insomnia and whether melatonin can help individuals on Effexor therapy or not. We will also discuss the role of melatonin in sleep regulation and what approaches can be made to improve sleep cycles.
Can melatonin ease Effexor-induced insomnia?
Yes, melatonin can ease Effexor-induced insomnia. Effexor (also known as ‘Venlafaxine), is an antidepressant belonging to a drug class of serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It commonly produces side effects like nausea, drowsiness, vertigo, insomnia, or unusual sweating.
Melatonin is a hormone responsible for the regulation of our daily sleep patterns. This hormone controls the balance between the daily sleep and wakefulness windows of our body. Taking melatonin through an external source can help patients who have issues with their sleep cycle. Melatonin can help you if you have trouble falling or staying asleep.
What is the role of melatonin in sleep regulation?
Melatonin is a physiological hormone which has the function of strengthening behaviours associated with darkness. It is produced by the pineal gland in the absence of visual light prompts to the brain. In the daylight, the signals inhibit melatonin production and at nighttime in the absence of light signals, melatonin is synthesised (1,2).
The effects of melatonin are mediated through specific receptors present in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain. The SCN is the regulator of sleep and circadian rhythm. Through the SCN, melatonin manages the balance between the circadian signals and the whole circadian rhythm. This process can affect sleep timing and correct circadian phase abnormalities (3,4).
By the same mechanism, supplemental melatonin can improve sleep in individuals suffering from primary and secondary sleep abnormalities. This mechanism can also ease symptoms of Effexor-induced insomnia.
What is the link between insomnia and Effexor?
Antidepressants including Effexor can cause sleep problems like insomnia at the start of therapy. This side effect tends to go away on its own when your body adjusts to the medication. Normally Effexor-induced insomnia would resolve within 3-4 weeks after the start of treatment.
Sometimes, owing to the severity of this side effect, it can take a bit longer for the symptoms of Effexor-induced insomnia to resolve. If that is the case you may need some external aid in the form of pharmacological or non-pharmacological ways to help improve your sleep.
What are melatonin’s pros and cons for Effexor-linked insomnia?
Melatonin is not found to restrain or act against sleep problems arising as a result of Effexor therapy. This is because both melatonin and Effexor work through separate mechanisms, so melatonin can somewhat provide relief from insomnia linked to Effexor therapy. You will have to take the supplement for almost a week before it shows noticeable improvement.
Melatonin has been shown to help fall asleep, stay asleep and go back to sleep if you wake up. It is more beneficial for short-term use. Long-term use of melatonin can cause problems in the body’s natural process of melatonin production. So many healthcare professionals do not recommend the use of melatonin in the long term.
Melatonin treatment is more beneficial for older populations (above 50 years) and not so much for younger populations and children. Also, melatonin can sometimes increase side effects of Effexor like drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, headaches and difficulty concentrating. Increased side effects can then become a cause of concern for patients and healthcare providers (5).
Keeping in mind these risks, you should always consult your doctor for proper guidance, and dosage recommendations and let him decide whether or not melatonin supplementation is safe for you.
Other strategies to promote better sleep while taking Effexor
Insomnia caused by Effexor can be managed by pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological ways. Some of these strategies are as follows:
Your doctor may prescribe you a medication like Trazodone to help improve your insomnia symptoms. Research has proven it to be an effective addition to the treatment regimen of patients with Effexor-induced insomnia (6).
Different types of non-pharmacological approaches can also be used to treat or manage the symptoms caused by insomnia due to Effexor. Some are as follows:
Sometimes changing the time of medication might help with Effexor-induced insomnia. Your doctor may suggest you to switch taking Effexor from nighttime to morning. This does not mean you will not experience insomnia but it certainly does decrease the intensity of this side effect.
Maintaining a good sleep schedule can also help manage symptoms of Effexor-induced insomnia. If your sleep routine is not proper, you should try making it better. A good sleep schedule and healthy sleeping habits can significantly decrease insomnia due to Effexor therapy.
Sometimes making a few changes to your diet can massively help you cope with Effexor-induced insomnia. Food and drinks that can disrupt sleep like alcohol, nicotine and caffeine should be minimised. Try to not have a heavy meal up to 2 hours before and to not eat anything immediately before bed.
Staying active is a key point for health. Your doctor will encourage you to stay active to better manage your disease and medication-induced side effects. But in the case of insomnia induced by Effexor, you should exercise during the daytime.
In this article, we discussed the effect of melatonin on Effexor-induced insomnia. We also discussed how melatonin helps to improve sleep in individuals experiencing Effexor-induced insomnia. We explained the risks and benefits of melatonin therapy and some other treatment strategies to manage this side effect. In my opinion, melatonin is a potential solution for Effexor-induced insomnia but this solution is only worth considering when it is the safest option for you.
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Bertschy G, Ragama-Pardos E, Muscionico M, Aït-Ameur A, Roth L, Osiek C, Ferrero F. Trazodone addition for insomnia in venlafaxine-treated, depressed inpatients: a semi-naturalistic study. Pharmacological research. 2005 Jan 1;51(1):79-84. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1043661804001720