Name of treatment

Melatonin

Type of treatment

Dietary supplement

Claims for treatment

Melatonin has been suggested as a treatment for tinnitus because of its effects on sleep and because of its vasoactive/antioxidant properties.

How treatment is delivered

Orally

Potential negative consequences

Generally considered safe however it should not be taken by people with certain medical conditions, and is not compatible with certain other medicines.[1]

Evidence offered:

Papers available

5 (as listed in the systematic review[2])

Conclusions drawn

Because of biases in the evidence base, it cannot be said whether melatonin is effective for tinnitus or not. Melatonin seems to improve sleep disturbance linked to tinnitus.

Quality of evidence[3]

A

Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

No. Please note, melatonin is only available on prescription in the UK and licensed only for treating insomnia in the over 55s.

BTA opinion on this treatment:

The evidence levels for melatonin supplementation treating tinnitus are low. Melatonin should only be obtained via prescription and taken under the supervision of a medical professional.

“Dietary supplements should not be recommended to treat tinnitus, but could have a positive outcome on tinnitus reactions in some people”[4]

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes, if high quality

Verdict: Safety - is this treatment harmful?

  Limited potential for harm

Verdict: Efficacy - does this treatment work?

No evidence of effect

[1]  https://www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/melatonin.html

[2] Miroddi M, Bruno R, Galletti F, Calapai F, Navarra M, Gangemi S, Calapai G. Clinical pharmacology of melatonin in the treatment of tinnitus: a review. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2015 Mar;71(3):263-70. doi: 10.1007/s00228-015-1805-3. Epub 2015 Jan 20.

[3] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

[4] Coelho C, Tyler R, Ji H, Rojas-Roncancio E, Witt S, Tao P, Jun HJ, Wang TC, Hansen MR, Gantz BJ. Survey on the Effectiveness of Dietary Supplements to Treat Tinnitus. American Journal of Audiology, 2016: 25(3): 184-205

Download this information:

Tinnitus_and_melatonin_April_2019.pdf

Photo: Ged Carroll. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.