Exploring melatonin prescribing among customers of compounding pharmacies in Australia

Jane Nikles, Victor Lo, Jennifer A Giam and Bandana Saini
Med J Aust 2012; 196 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/mja12.10145
Published online: 2 April 2012

To the Editor: In Australia, when melatonin is requested in doses higher than those available in preprepared formulations, in different dosage forms, or for people under 55 years of age, private prescriptions and extempora-neous preparations are often used. There is evidence of efficacy of melatonin in shiftwork-related sleep disorders, jet lag, circadian rhythm disorders, and for older people with chronic insomnia, but not for insomnia generally.1-3 There is concern over increasing use of melatonin in children, but no current data exist for actual melatonin usage patterns in Australia. In September 2010, we conducted a 2-week prospective drug use audit of melatonin prescriptions dispensed to patients by Australian compounding pharmacies.

  • 1 School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD.
  • 2 Marsfield Pharmacy, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Professional Compounding Chemists of Australia Pty Ltd, Sydney, NSW.
  • 4 University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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  • 2. Wade A, Downie S. Prolonged-release melatonin for the treatment of insomnia in patients over 55 years. Expert Opin Investig Drugs 2008; 17: 1567-1572.
  • 3. National Prescribing Service. Melatonin prolonged-release tablets (Circadin) for primary insomnia in older people. Sydney: NPS RADAR, 2010. (accessed Mar 2012).
  • 4. Tze-Min Ang K, Saini B, Wong K. Sleep health awareness in pharmacy undergraduates and practising community pharmacists. J Clin Pharm Ther 2008; 33: 641-652.
  • 5. Giam JA, McLachlan AJ, Krass I. Specialized compounding in community pharmacies: organizational perspective. J Am Pharm Assoc (2003) 2010; 50: 354-361.


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