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CNS Neurosci Ther. 2009 Winter;15(1):32-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2008.00066.x.

Pharmacology of ramelteon, a selective MT1/MT2 receptor agonist: a novel therapeutic drug for sleep disorders.

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  • 1Pharmaceutical Development Division, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, 4-1-1 Doshomachi, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Japan.


An estimated one-third of the general population is affected by insomnia, and this number is increasing due to more stressful working conditions and the progressive aging of society. However, current treatment of insomnia with hypnotics, gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABA(A)) receptor modulators, induces various side effects, including cognitive impairment, motor disturbance, dependence, tolerance, hangover, and rebound insomnia. Ramelteon (Rozerem; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, Osaka, Japan) is an orally active, highly selective melatonin MT(1)/MT(2) receptor agonist. Unlike the sedative hypnotics that target GABA(A) receptor complexes, ramelteon is a chronohypnotic that acts on the melatonin MT(1) and MT(2) receptors, which are primarily located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the body's "master clock." As such, ramelteon possesses the first new therapeutic mechanism of action for a prescription insomnia medication in over three decades. Ramelteon has demonstrated sleep-promoting effects in clinical trials, and coupled with its favorable safety profile and lack of abuse potential or dependence, this chronohypnotic provides an important treatment option for insomnia.

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