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Review: oral melatonin reduces jet lag in air travellers

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 QUESTION: In people who travel by air across several time zones, can oral melatonin prevent or treat jet lag (daytime fatigue, sleep disturbances, loss of mental efficiency, weakness, and irritability)?

Data sources

Studies were identified by searching the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, Medline, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, and PsycLIT with the terms melatonin, jet-lag, jet lag, aviation, air travel, and airtravel. Specific studies were identified in SciSearch, 2 journals (Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine and Sleep from 1986 to 1999) were hand searched, bibliographies of relevant studies were scanned, and authors of studies were contacted to identify further studies. Data and case reports of adverse effects of melatonin were also sought.

Study selection

Randomised controlled trials were selected if airline passengers, airline staff, or military personnel were studied; oral melatonin was compared with placebo or other medication; drugs were taken before, during, or after travel or a combination of times related to travel; and outcome data were provided.

Data extraction

Data were extracted on study quality and participants, timing and dose of melatonin and …

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