Drug Insight: the use of melatonergic agonists for the treatment of insomnia-focus on ramelteon.
ABSTRACT Melatonin, a chronobiotic that participates in the control of the circadian system, is known for its sleep-promoting effects, which include shortening of sleep latency and lengthening of sleep duration. As a result of its short half-life, melatonin does not exhibit undesirable side effects, and its broad applicability for a variety of sleep problems has been the focus of numerous scientific studies. Melatonin has not, however, received regulatory approval from the US FDA as a drug, because it can be sold freely as a food supplement. Consequently, there has been an active search for patentable melatonin receptor ligands in recent years. Ramelteon, an agonist that acts solely on melatonin MT(1) and MT(2) receptors, is of particular interest, and preliminary research indicates that it holds considerable promise for clinical applications. Ramelteon has been shown to induce sleep initiation and maintenance in various animal models and in clinical trials. In chronic insomnia, ramelteon decreases sleep latency and increases total sleep time and sleep efficiency, without causing hangover, addiction or withdrawal effects. Ramelteon is thought to promote sleep by influencing homeostatic sleep signaling mediated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Although ramelteon's metabolism and pharmacokinetics differ from those of melatonin, its safety seems to be sufficient for short-term application. Its long-term effects remain to be determined.
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ABSTRACT: Along with urbanization of the living environment, the number of patients with circadian rhythm sleep disorder (CRSD) has been increasing. There are several treatment candidates for CRSD, such as light therapy, drugs (melatonin and vitamin B12), and sleep hygiene education. However, successful treatment method has not been established. In free-running type (FRT) CRSD, the endogenous circadian rhythm cannot be entrained to the 24-h light-dark cycle, resulting in free running on a cycle 0.5-2.5 h longer than the 24-h period. This condition is relatively common in blind individuals and is unusual in sighted individuals. Here we report two sighted patients with FRT, successfully treated with a melatonin receptor agonist, ramelteon. Patient 1 (36-year-old female) had suffered from FRT for nearly 4 months after resigning her job. She was given sleep hygiene education together with ramelteon at first and the free-running cycle stopped after treatment day 15. Triazolam was added from the day 25 to promote earlier sleep onset. And the sleep-wake schedule was normalized by the day 34. Patient 2 (33-year-old male) had suffered from FRT for nearly 8 months after starting to take a leave of absence from his job. He was given sleep hygiene education and was treated with ramelteon and methylcobalamin. His sleep-wake schedule was normalized from the first treatment day. By the combined treatment with ramelteon, both patients have maintained favorable sleep-wake schedules. The agonist action of ramelteon at the melatonin 2 receptor may have primarily contributed to the cessation of the free-running cycle in these patients.The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine 01/2014; 234(2):123-128. · 1.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To characterize the antinociceptive action of the novel melatonin receptor (MT) agonists, Neu-P11 and Neu-P12 in animal models of visceral pain. Visceral pain was induced by intracolonic (ic) application of mustard oil or capsaicin solution or by intraperitoneal (ip) administration of acetic acid. Neu-P11, Neu-P12, or melatonin were given ip or orally and their effects on pain-induced behavioral responses were evaluated. To identify the receptors involved, the non-selective MT1/MT2 receptor antagonist luzindole, the MT2 receptor antagonist 4-P-PDOT, or the μ-opioid receptor antagonist naloxone were injected ip or intracerebroventricularly (icv) prior to the induction of pain. Orally and ip administered melatonin, Neu-P11, and Neu-P12 reduced pain responses in a dose-dependent manner. Neu-P12 was more effective and displayed longer duration of action compared to melatonin. The antinociceptive effects of Neu-P11 or Neu-P12 were antagonized by ip or icv. administered naloxone. Intracerebroventricularly, but not ip administration of luzindole or 4-P-PDOT blocked the antinociceptive actions of Neu-P11 or Neu-P12. Neu-P12 produced the most potent and long-lasting antinociceptive effect. Further development of Neu-P12 for future treatment of abdominal pain seems promising.World Journal of Gastroenterology 02/2014; 20(5):1298-304. · 2.43 Impact Factor
Article: Melatonergic drugs in development.[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is widely known as "the darkness hormone". It is a major chronobiological regulator involved in circadian phasing and sleep-wake cycle in humans. Numerous other functions, including cyto/neuroprotection, immune modulation, and energy metabolism have been ascribed to melatonin. A variety of studies have revealed a role for melatonin and its receptors in different pathophysiological conditions. However, the suitability of melatonin as a drug is limited because of its short half-life, poor oral bioavailability, and ubiquitous action. Due to the therapeutic potential of melatonin in a wide variety of clinical conditions, the development of new agents able to interact selectively with melatonin receptors has become an area of great interest during the last decade. Therefore, the field of melatonergic receptor agonists comprises a great number of structurally different chemical entities, which range from indolic to nonindolic compounds. Melatonergic agonists are suitable for sleep disturbances, neuropsychiatric disorders related to circadian dysphasing, and metabolic diseases associated with insulin resistance. The results of preclinical studies on animal models show that melatonin receptor agonists can be considered promising agents for the treatment of central nervous system-related pathologies. An overview of recent advances in the field of investigational melatonergic drugs will be presented in this review.Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications 01/2014; 6:127-37.