Melatonin osteoporosis prevention study (MOPS): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examining the effects of melatonin on bone health and quality of life in perimenopausal women


Address reprint requests to Paula A. Witt-Enderby, Duquesne University, School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA 15282, USA.


Abstract:  The purpose of this double-blind study was to assess the effects of nightly melatonin supplementation on bone health and quality of life in perimenopausal women. A total of 18 women (ages 45–54) were randomized to receive melatonin (3 mg, p.o., n = 13) or placebo (n = 5) nightly for 6 months. Bone density was measured by calcaneal ultrasound. Bone turnover marker (osteocalcin, OC for bone formation and NTX for bone resorption) levels were measured bimonthly in serum. Participants completed Menopause-Specific Quality of Life-Intervention (MENQOL) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaires before and after treatment. Subjects also kept daily diaries recording menstrual cycling, well-being, and sleep patterns. The results from this study showed no significant change (6-month-baseline) in bone density, NTX, or OC between groups; however, the ratio of NTX:OC trended downward over time toward a ratio of 1:1 in the melatonin group. Melatonin had no effect on vasomotor, psychosocial, or sexual MENQOL domain scores; however, it did improve physical domain scores compared to placebo (mean change melatonin: −0.6 versus placebo: 0.1, P < 0.05). Menstrual cycling was reduced in women taking melatonin (mean cycles melatonin: 4.3 versus placebo: 6.5, P < 0.05), and days between cycles were longer (mean days melatonin: 51.2 versus placebo: 24.1, P < 0.05). No differences in duration of menses occurred between groups. The overall PSQI score and average number of hours slept were similar between groups. These findings show that melatonin supplementation was well tolerated, improved physical symptoms associated with perimenopause, and may restore imbalances in bone remodeling to prevent bone loss. Further investigation is warranted.