Rozerem for Insomnia Treatment

Sleeping Pill Affects Levels of the Hormone Melatonin

Rozerem is a prescription sleeping pill that is also sold under the generic name ramelteon and is used for the treatment of insomnia. Rozerem is an agonist for melatonin receptors, but does not change levels of melatonin in the body—it actually enhances melatonin's effects.

Sleep disturbances worsen depression.
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Rozerem is a prescription medication that can be used to initiate sleep in individuals suffering from insomnia. It is a hypnotic drug and causes the user to become sleepy.

How It Works

Rozerem works by binding the receptors for a hormone called melatonin. This helps the action of melatonin (this is called being an agonist) and enhances melatonin’s effect of promoting sleep and controlling circadian rhythms.


Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone. However, there are some situations when Rozerem should not be used.

If you have severe liver disease or sleep apnea, you should avoid using Rozerem. In addition, caution is advised if you have mild liver disease, recent changes in your smoking habits, depression, or severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. You should not use Rozerem with alcohol.

Rozerem has the potential to interact with other medications, so you should review all drugs that you are taking with your healthcare provider if you are using or are set to use Rozerem.

Side Effects

As with any drug, there is the potential for harmful side effects. Although you would not be expected to experience most side effects—and would likely not experience any of them—some of the more common that can occur with the use of Rozerem include:

  • Headache
  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Depression
  • Taste changes
  • Change in hormonal levels (elevated prolactin, decreased testosterone, or decreased cortisol)

Potential Serious Reactions

These more serious side effects occur more rarely:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Worsening depression
  • Behavioral disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Complex sleep-related behavior
  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction involving difficulty breathing)

Liver tumors have also been noted as a potential side effect, though this research was only performed on animals.

Things to Keep in Mind

Certain people should use Rozerem with caution or not at all, as noted above. Harm to a developing fetus is possible, and the safety of the drug's use during lactation is unknown. It should be used with caution if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. No routine testing is necessary for monitoring.

If you experience any difficulties, you should be in close contact with your primary health provider.

3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Neubauer DN. A review of ramelteon in the treatment of sleep disorders. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2008;4(1):69-79. doi:10.2147/ndt.s483

  2. Ward C. Ramelteon (Rozerem) for Insomnia. Am Fam Physician. 73(8):1437-1438.

  3. Food and Drug Administration. Rozerem label.

Additional Reading

By Brandon Peters, MD
Brandon Peters, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist.