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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Pharmacokinetics and Safety of Intravenous, Intravesical, Rectal, Transdermal, and Vaginal Melatonin in Healthy Female Volunteers: A Cross-Over Study

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INTRODUCTION: We aimed to investigate the pharmacokinetic properties and safety of melatonin administered by alternative routes of administration.

METHODS: This study employed a cross-over design in healthy female volunteers. Twenty-five milligrams of melatonin was administered intravenously, intravesically, rectally, transdermally, and vaginally. Blood samples were collected at specified time points up to 24 h following intravenous, intravesical, rectal, and vaginal administration, and up to 48 h following transdermal administration. Plasma melatonin concentrations were determined by radioimmunoassay. Sedation was evaluated by a simple reaction-time test, and sleepiness was assessed by the Karolinska Sleepiness Scale. Adverse events were registered for each route of administration.

RESULTS: Ten participants were included. We documented a mean (SD) time to maximal concentration of 51 (29) min for intravesical, 24 (20) min for rectal, 21 (8) h for transdermal, and 147 (56) min for vaginal administration. The mean (SD) elimination half-life was 47 (6) min for intravenous, 58 (7) min for intravesical, 60 (18) min for rectal, 14.6 (11.1) h for transdermal, and 129 (17) min for vaginal administration. The mean (SD) bioavailability was 3.6 (1.9)% for intravesical, 36.0 (28.6)% for rectal, 10.0 (5.7)% for transdermal, and 97.8 (31.7)% for vaginal administration. No significant changes in reaction times were observed following administration of melatonin by any of the administration routes. Increased tiredness was documented following transdermal administration only. No serious adverse effects were documented.

CONCLUSION: Rectally and vaginally administered melatonin may serve as relevant alternatives to standard oral melatonin therapy. Transdermal delivery of melatonin displayed an extended absorption and can be applied if prolonged effects are intended. Intravesical administration displayed, as expected, a very limited bioavailability. Melatonin administered by these routes of administration was safe.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPharmacology
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
ISSN0031-7012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2020

ID: 60988405