Local urgent care doctor, Richard Neel, MD, MPH, says they are “swamped as they’ve ever been.” He asks physicians to read the research and take a close look at the immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, Anti-oxidant, Anti-toxin side of melatonin when given in high doses.
“We have to throw the kitchen sink at this,” Dr. Neel said. “High-dose melatonin is just another non-intrusive, widely-available tool in our arsenal that should be used in conjunction with other treatments including antibodies and bronchodialators. Especially with asthma patients, we have to attack Covid from a variety of angles.”
“The melatonin and regimen we use seems to be working just as well with the Delta variant. Especially if you really hit it hard the first day when you first start symptoms—it really makes a big difference.”
“I have also had great results using a drug called Fluvoxamine, which just so happens to increase the melatonin in your body by 2-3 times.”
“However, we still have to watch for the Covid pneumonia, and make sure to hit that with antibiotics,” Dr. Neel said.
Physicians all over the world have embraced experimental treatments, and re-purposed prescription drugs to fight the SARS 2/Covid-19 Pandemic. Yet, a very simple, non-intrusive treatment that has been used for almost a year now, by several physicians, remains a black sheep—high dose melatonin.
Dr. Richard Neel, MD, MPH, who has treated over 1,000 patients with high doses of melatonin at two urgent care clinics, is urging other physicians to try melatonin first and as an adjunctive therapy to other treatment.
“Just look at the studies that are out there,” says Dr. Neel, MD, who also holds a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard. “Look at the safety profile of melatonin.”
“Melatonin is not a cure for Covid—but it is an effective treatment. The real take home message from all of this research is that melatonin can do a lot more than we previously thought. If you take five minutes to look for it, you will see the research is there…melatonin and leukemia, melatonin and sepsis, melatonin and pancreatitis,” Dr. Neel adds.
“If you are a physician, take five minutes and just research this. Studies show melatonin was useful against SARS 1, MERS, Sepsis, and Ebola,” Dr. Neel said. “It’s useful for many other things, including Covid-19.”
“Melatonin has so many immunomodulatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-toxin properties,” Dr. Neel notes. “It helps to prevent the cytokine storm.”
There ARE several randomized, controlled studies demonstrating melatonin’s safety profile, even in extremely high doses, for treatment of other things.
“Studies show that melatonin is very safe, even at extremely high doses, 600 times greater than the amount that I am using to treat most patients…Look at the study of patients who were given 1-6 grams of melatonin before undergoing liver resection surgery.”
“Look at the study of septic babies and how melatonin improved survival,” Dr. Neel said. “Those are both randomized, controlled, double blind studies that demonstrate the safety profile of high dose melatonin. You’ll also find plenty of scientific evidence that melatonin can fight both viral and bacterial infections. It is the best anti-oxidant and anti-toxin that we have for Covid-19. It’s the only molecule I know that actually gets into the nucleus of the cell and repairs damage.”
Neel, who was an Air Force Colonel and Chief Flight Surgeon in his younger days, served on a team of subject matter experts for the US Pentagon for years in the time frame of the 2001 terrorist and anthrax attacks.
“When I was studying chemical and biological weapons, I found that melatonin could counteract them all…chemical, biological, and radiological weapons as well. Back when I was a medical student, I had a young professor, Dr. Russell Reiter, PhD, who talked about the potential applications of melatonin. So there I was, years later, working for the Pentagon, and I called up my old professor, and sure enough the more I researched, the more convinced I was. Flash forward to 2020, as the Covid pandemic hit, and I called him up again, to talk about his research on melatonin as an antiviral agent.”
Neel soon put that idea into action, along with many other doctors whom we have also interviewed, who all who had good results. As with any drug, the dose given does make a huge difference.
“I can tell you from my clinical experience in treating mild-moderately ill Covid patients, I am using roughly 1 mg/kg on average. Will it be as effective for a majority of the severely ill patients on ventilators? I don’t know for sure, but I certainly think physicians ought to try it, because it’s the safest, least intrusive treatment to try. I have seen it work for some patients who presented with pretty severe symptoms, and it works fast. You will know very quickly if it’s working.”
There are randomized, double blind studies going on now, using high dose melatonin to treat Covid-19, and that’s great, but we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, Neel notes, and studies take time, lots of time and money.
“How many people have to die before those studies are complete, and results published?” Dr. Neel asks. “I was just talking to a hospitalist today, and she was lamenting how many patients she has lost, said she was so tired of signing death certificates. Yet, she won’t try high dose melatonin. She just kept saying ‘I can’t deviate from hospital protocol. I can’t deviate.’ I don’t understand it.”
Everyday Neel gets calls from people all over the US, and all over the world, and many are using it in their small clinics, even nursing homes, but high dose melatonin hasn’t become part of most hospital protocols.
“Everything that we are using to treat Covid-19 is experimental right now—everything. As physicians our mantra is ‘first do no harm,’ so look at the safety profile of melatonin,” Dr. Neel said.
“We DO need more studies to tell us what is the optimal, most effective dose for Covid patients, and we DO need more studies to show how effective it is in severely-ill, hospitalized patients, but we have PLENTY of studies to show that high doses of melatonin are very safe for physicians to use—and a lot higher than the doses I’m using.”
There are randomized, double-blind studies on Covid v High Dose Melatonin ongoing, still not published. Meanwhile, some retrospective studies and a very interesting case series by Manila Doctor’s Hospital in the Phillipines all support this simple treatment.
“Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, and that’s what I did, and it’s working,” Dr. Neel told an international panel of scientists and doctors this past December.
He notes that off-label uses are nothing new.
“Back in 1972, I remember doctors at the hospital I worked at using Lidocane to help patients with heart arrthymia. It was approved only as an anesthetic, but it had other applications like so many drugs do. Look at Tagamat, it’s approved for treating stomach acid and reflex, but now we know we can use it to treat warts too.”
“I am happy to discuss my findings and the research behind it with any physician, anytime,” Dr. Neel said. “I am using roughly 1mg/kg to treat most adult patients, in conjunction with other things, and that amount has been extremely effective. This excludes pregnant women, in which we use small amounts only extremely judiciously.”
Further Reading on this topic….
Melatonin is significantly associated with survival of intubated COVID-19 patients
Ramlall V, Zucker J, Tatonetti N. Melatonin is significantly associated with survival of intubated COVID-19 patients. medRxiv [Preprint]. 2020 Oct 18:2020.10.15.20213546. doi: 10.1101/2020.10.15.20213546. PMID: 33083812; PMCID: PMC7574268. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33083812/
Melatonin as adjuvant treatment for coronavirus disease 2019 pneumonia patients requiring hospitalization (MAC-19 PRO): a case series
Adjuvant melatonin treatment in COVID19 pneumonia
Melatonin: Roles in influenza, Covid 19, and other viral infections
George Anderson, Russel J. Reiter, 21 April 2020, https://doi.org/10.1002/rmv.2109
Studies Showing Safety Profile of melatonin in high doses:
The use of high-dose melatonin in liver resection is safe: first clinical experience
Nickkholgh, A., Schneider, H., Sobirey, M., Venetz, W. P., Hinz, U., Pelzl, l., Gotthardt, D. N., Cekauskas, A., Manikas, M., Mikalauskas, S., Mikalauskene, L., Bruns, H., Zorn, M., Weigand, M. A., Büchler, M. W., & Schemmer, P. (2011). The use of high-dose melatonin in liver resection is safe: first clinical experience. Journal of pineal research, 50(4), 381–388. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-079X.2011.00854.x https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21480979/
(Beneficial effect of melatonin in treatment of neonatal sepsis, 2018)
El-Gendy, F. M., El-Hawy, M. A., & Hassan, M. G. (2018). Beneficial effect of melatonin in the treatment of neonatal sepsis. The journal of maternal-fetal & neonatal medicine : the official journal of the European Association of Perinatal Medicine, the Federation of Asia and Oceania Perinatal Societies, the International Society of Perinatal Obstetricians, 31(17), 2299–2303. https://doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2017.1342794
(Effects of Melatonin Treatment in Septic Newborns, 2001)
Gitto, E., Karbownik, M., Reiter, R. J., Tan, D. X., Cuzzocrea, S., Chiurazzi, P., Cordaro, S., Corona, G., Trimarchi, G., & Barberi, I. (2001). Effects of melatonin treatment in septic newborns. Pediatric research, 50(6), 756–760. https://doi.org/10.1203/00006450-200112000-00021
Melatonin: does it have utility in the treatment of haematological neoplasms? Li, T., Yang, Z., Jiang, S., Di, W., Ma, Z., Hu, W., Chen, F., Reiter, R. J., & Yang, Y. (2018). British journal of pharmacology, 175(16), 3251–3262. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.13966
The effects of oral melatonin on skin color and on the release of pituitary hormones. Nordlund, J.J.; Lerner, A.B.. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 1977, 45, 768–774. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Reduced oxidative damage in ALS by high-dose enteral melatonin treatment. Weishaupt, J.H.; Bartels, C.; Pölking, E.; Dietrich, J.; Rohde, G.; Poeggeler, B.; Mertens, N.; Sperling, S.; Bohn, M.; Hüther, G.; et al. J. Pineal Res. 2006, 41, 313–323. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Clinical Trials for Use of Melatonin to Fight against COVID-19 Are Urgently Needed. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/9/2561 Kleszczyński K, Slominski AT, Steinbrink K, Reiter RJ. Nutrients. 2020; 12(9):2561. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092561
Can melatonin reduce the severity of COVID-19 pandemic?
Vakhrusheva, Anna & Shneider, Alexander & Kudriavcev, Aleksandr. (2020).
Hometown Healthcare treats over 100+ patients, also nursing home Covid Wards with high dose melatonin, decadron
International panel on melatonin v Covid-19, Dr. Neel introuduced as world’s leading expert in treating1,000+ patients clinically with high dose melatonin
South Texas doctor is a pioneer in treating Covid-19 patients
Neel treats first patients with high dose melatonin
Opinion…Doctor Neel: Doctors need to start using melatonin now
Dehydroepiandrosterone and melatonin prevent Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin-induced TNF production in macrophages
Dr. Neel is now the co-owner of The Little Alsace Urgent Care Clinic in Castroville and Uvalde, TX. He was recently appointed as the City of Devine Public Health Authority, as well as The City of Lytle, and the City of LaCoste.
Dr. Neel served over 20 years as a Chief Flight Surgeon in the U.S. Air Force before his retirement as a Colonel. He lived in Europe serving in the USAFE (US Air force Europe) for 8 years. For 2 of those 8 years, he served as a personal physician for Ambassadors, General Officers and Senior State Department Personnel. He was deployed for combat operations in the Middle East and Bosnia. He has over a thousand hours of flying time in jet fighters, bombers and helicopters. He flew more than 25 combat missions during deployments. His many decorations include an Air Medal for assisting in the helicopter rescue of 32 people from a sinking tanker during a Hurricane that was more than 300 miles off the coast of Ireland. He led emergency response teams for NASA space shuttle emergency landing sites in Spain, Morocco and Gambia.
On September 11, 2001 he led an Air Force Emergency Team at the Pentagon. For many years he served on a team of subject matter expert in chemical and biological warfare for the US Pentagon. He also holds a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard.
By Kayleen Holder