Ramelteon (Molecule of the Month for March 2012)
Rozerem is used for insomnia, particularly delayed sleep onset. Ramelteon has not been shown to produce dependence and has shown no potential for abuse, and the withdrawal and rebound insomnia that is typical with GABA modulators is not present in ramelteon. Some clinicians also use ramelteon for the treatment of Delayed sleep phase syndrome.
Ramelteon is the first in a new class of sleep agents that selectively binds to the MT1 and MT2 receptors in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), instead of binding to GABA A receptors, such as with drugs like zolpidem, eszopiclone, and zaleplon.
The activity of ramelteon at the MT1 and MT2 receptors is believed to contribute to its sleep-promoting properties, as these receptors, acted upon by endogenous melatonin, are thought to be involved in the maintenance of the circadian rhythm underlying the normal sleep-wake cycle. Ramelteon has no appreciable affinity for the GABA receptor complex or for receptors that bind neuropeptides, cytokines, serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, acetylcholine, and opiates.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for March 2012 )