Rozerem for Insomnia Treatment

Sleeping Pill Affects Levels of the Hormone Melatonin

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Rozerem is a prescription sleeping pill that is also sold under the generic name ramelteon and is used for the treatment of insomnia. It is unique in that it works to change levels of the hormone melatonin in the body.

Uses of Rozerem

Rozerem is a prescription medication that can be used to initiate sleep in individuals suffering from insomnia. It is a hypnotic drug and causes the user to become sleepy.

How Does Rozerem Work?

Rozerem works by binding the receptors for a hormone called melatonin. This helps the action of melatonin (this is called being an agonist) and enhances melatonin’s effect of promoting sleep and controlling circadian rhythms.

Who Should Not Use Rozerem?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone. However, there are some situations when Rozerem should not be used.

If you have severe liver disease or sleep apnea, you should avoid using Rozerem. In addition, caution is advised if you have mild liver disease, recent changes in your smoking habits, depression, or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. You should not use Rozerem with alcohol.

Rozerem has the potential to interact with other medications, so you should review all drugs that you are taking with your doctor if you are using or are set to use Rozerem.

What Are Common Side Effects?

As with any drug, there is the potential for harmful side effects.

Although you would not be expected to experience most side effects -- and would likely not experience any of them -- some of the more common that can occur with the use of Rozerem include:

  • Headache
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Depression
  • Taste changes
  • Change in hormonal levels (elevated prolactin, decreased testosterone, or decreased cortisol)

What Are Potential Serious Reactions?

These more serious side effects occur more rarely:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Worsening depression
  • Behavioral disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Complex sleep-related behavior
  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction involving difficulty breathing)

Liver tumors have also been noted as a potential side effect, though this research was only done on animals.

Things to Keep in Mind

Certain people should use Rozerem with caution or not at all, as noted above. Harm to a developing fetus is possible, and the safety of the drug's use during lactation is unknown. It should be used with caution if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. No routine testing is necessary for monitoring.

If you experience any difficulties, you should be in close contact with your primary health provider.


"Rozerem." Epocrates Rx Pro. Version 3.4, 2010. Epocrates, Inc. San Mateo, California.

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