Negative effects of melatonin on depression

Am J Psychiatry. 1976 Oct;133(10):1181-6. doi: 10.1176/ajp.133.10.1181.


In order to test the efficacy of the pineal neurohumor melatonin on depression, the hormone was administered in varying doses to six moderately to severely depressed patients and two patients with Huntington's chorea in double-blind crossover study. Melatonin exacerbated symptoms of dysphoria in these patients, as well as causing a loss of sleep and weight and a drop in oral temperature. Melatonin increased cerebrospinal fluid 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and calcium in three of four patients studied. The authors discuss the implications of this finding.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anger
  • Anxiety / chemically induced
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Calcium / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depression / chemically induced
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Emotions / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Male
  • Melatonin / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / chemically induced


  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Melatonin
  • Calcium