Efficacy and safety of prolonged-release melatonin for insomnia in middle-aged and elderly patients with hypertension: a combined analysis of controlled clinical trials

Integr Blood Press Control. 2012;5:9-17. doi: 10.2147/IBPC.S27240. Epub 2012 Jan 25.


Background: Add-on prolonged-release melatonin (PRM) in antihypertensive therapy has been shown to ameliorate nocturnal hypertension. Hypertension is a major comorbidity among insomnia patients. The efficacy and safety of PRM for primary insomnia in patients aged 55 years and older who are treated with antihypertensive drugs were evaluated.

Methods: Post hoc analysis of pooled antihypertensive drug-treated subpopulations from four randomized, double-blind trials of PRM and placebo for 3 weeks (N[PRM] = 195; N[placebo] = 197) or 28 weeks (N[PRM] = 157; N[placebo] = 40). Efficacy measurements included Leeds Sleep Evaluation Questionnaire scores of quality of sleep and alertness and behavioral integrity the following morning after 3 weeks, and sleep latency (daily sleep diary) and Clinical Global Impression of Improvement (CGI-I) after 6 months of treatment. Safety measures included antihypertensive drug-treated subpopulations from these four and three additional single-blind and open-label PRM studies of up to 1 year (N[PRM] = 650; N[placebo] = 632).

Results: Quality of sleep and behavior following wakening improved significantly with PRM compared with placebo (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.0008, respectively). Sleep latency (P = 0.02) and CGI-I (P = 0.0003) also improved significantly. No differences were observed between PRM and placebo groups in vital signs, including daytime blood pressure at baseline and treatment phases. The rate of adverse events normalized per 100 patient-weeks was lower for PRM (3.66) than for placebo (8.53).

Conclusions: The findings demonstrate substantive and sustained efficacy of PRM in primary insomnia patients treated with antihypertensive drugs. PRM appears to be safe for insomnia in patients with cardiovascular comorbidity.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; hypertension; insomnia; nocturnal blood pressure; prolonged-release melatonin; sleep quality.