Where can I order melatonin online, which will ship internationally?
August 15, 2008 6:40 AM   Subscribe

What are some reputable American websites which will ship supplements internationally? More inside specifically regarding melatonin.

(I've checked the other online pharmacy questions and they all appear to be in regards to prescription only meds rather than OTC)

After trying a lot of different things to help ease my problematic sleeping patterns I've finally found the miracle that is melatonin supplements. However, I've found that it is also prohibitively expensive in my country. In New Zealand it is prescription only and to compound things it is also a "Section C Restricted" (?) medication, meaning I cannot pick it up the same day as I give the pharmacy my script, since they have to order it in from a specific company.

Currently it is costing me about $20 - $30 per 30 tablets (3mg). Unless the pharmacist (and my doctor) are incorrect, I don't need a prescription if I'm ordering it from a country where it is an over-the-counter supplement (eg: USA).

I found one place which I can get 100 tablets for $2, given this price is substantially lower than brands I question the quality. (I note though that the same site has the same brand I'm getting at the moment for only about $6 or so for 120 tabs).

What sites are reputable?

and what brands of melatonin supplement are likely to be the safest bet? (prerequisites being that the site ships internationally and without charging some huge fee).

(bonus points if the site sells other supplements as well, since I've noticed a lot of stuff is cheaper overseas than locally).
posted by chrisbucks to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like you can order directly from Puritan's Pride here. International shipping seems to be about $US10 to NZ, and price for the supplements seems to be around US$1.40/100 tablets. That brand should be perfectly fine.
posted by reptile at 7:30 AM on August 15, 2008

As far as other brands that should be reliable, I'd pretty much trust what they sell at drugstore.com, but it doesn't look like they ship internationally.
posted by reptile at 7:33 AM on August 15, 2008

dude. is that $30US for 30 tablets? that's insane!!!

when i buy a "real brand" at cvs, it's about $14 for about 90 pills. when i order from puritan's pride it's impossibly cheap for an insane number of pills (usually you buy one bottle and get 3-5 free. insane). i did question the quality of the pills since they were so cheap, but they work as well for me as the "real brand".

i'm confused by their shipping info. but, you're not in france or germany, so maybe they'll ship to you?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:36 AM on August 15, 2008

darn. beaten again.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:37 AM on August 15, 2008

I have a couple of family members who are big fans of Swanson. They're quite reputable; at least in terms of 'this pill really does contain what it's supposed to'. None of the herbal/supplement/vitamin places are FDA regulated, so whether or not the stuff will have its claimed effects is a different story.

That said, melatonin's perfectly effective for lots of people.
posted by echo target at 7:39 AM on August 15, 2008

Good responses so far, thank you :)
Just to clarify, it was $30NZD (which is $21 US), the first pharmacy charged me $30NZ, and the next one charged me $20NZ, either way it's stupidly expensive, but I believe it is because the supplier has an exclusive license with the government. I do plan to eventually write a well researched letter to someone who might care, but for now ordering from overseas helps my own personal situation.
posted by chrisbucks at 9:21 AM on August 15, 2008

I have been using the Source Naturals brand of melatonin for many years -- particularly because they offer a sublingual version that's nice if you have trouble swallowing pills. I sometimes buy them from Vitacost.com, and their site says they offer shipping to NZ.
posted by clarissajoy at 11:18 AM on August 15, 2008

I've had good luck with Natrol melatonin. Looks like you can get it here, and they ship to NZ. I don't know anything about the store, but it doesn't set off any of my "shady" detectors.

Incidentally, don't waste your money on anything over 1mg/dose. The actual maximum effective dose is 0.3 mg, so go ahead and save some money by taking half-pills.
posted by rusty at 1:37 PM on August 15, 2008

From my usage though, one 3mg tab does nothing to me unless I'm fairly relaxed/close to tired. From my awake state I can need up to 6mg to make me sleepy, otherwise I just stay awake for hours.
posted by chrisbucks at 1:56 PM on August 15, 2008

chrisbucks: Melatonin does nothing for me unless I'm close to tired, either. But I haven't found a dose that I'm not able to ignore if I really want to. It seems to work more by shutting off the little nagging part of my brain that doesn't want to go to sleep, and letting my body do what it wants to. I never feel any effect from it, I simply can observe the fact that when I do take it I go to sleep more quickly.

For me, melatonin helps me over that last little hump when I'm aready sleepy, which I get to be by waking up at a consistent time of day, eating meals regularly, and getting some physical exercise every day. The behavioral stuff has been a lot more effective than any medication.

Not that any of this is universal. Just from one (former) patternless non-sleeper to another. :-)

Check out the medical lit on melatonin dosages. It's been subject to a lot more studies than most supplements, and there is a lot of useful data out there.
posted by rusty at 2:11 PM on August 15, 2008

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