Melatonin Reduces Tachycardia in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome: A Randomized, Crossover Trial

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Abstract

Background:

Postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS) induces disabling chronic orthostatic intolerance with an excessive increase in heart rate (HR) upon standing, and many POTS patients have a hyperadrenergic state. Medications that restrain HR are a promising approach to this problem.

Objective:

We tested the hypothesis that melatonin will attenuate the tachycardia and improve symptom burden in patients with POTS.

Methods:

Patients with POTS (n = 78) underwent acute drug trials with melatonin 3 mg orally and placebo, on separate mornings, in a randomized crossover design. Blood pressure, HR, and symptoms were assessed while seated and after standing for up to 10 min prior to, and hourly for 4 h following study drug administration.

Results:

The reduction in standing HR was significantly greater 2 h after melatonin compared with placebo (P = 0.017). There was no significant difference in the reduction of systolic blood pressure between melatonin and placebo, either with standing or while seated. The symptom burden was not improved with melatonin compared with placebo.

Conclusion:

Oral melatonin produced a modest decrease in standing tachycardia in POTS. Further research is needed to determine the effects of regular night-time use of this medication in POTS.

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