Trazodone is an anti-depressant drug. Trazodone’s tablet is an oral prescription drug. Trazodone immediate-release oral tablet is available only as a generic drug. Trazodone’s extended-release oral tablet is only available as the brand-name drug Oleptro.
Trazodone is a class of medications called serotonin modulators, which work by moderating levels of serotonin in the brain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved in 1981 under the brand name Desyrel.
Why Trazodone is used:
Trazodone is used to treat depression in adults. Besides treating depression, doctors may also prescribe trazodone to treat anxiety, schizophrenia, or uncontrolled movements that occur as a side effect of other medications. Doctors may also prescribe trazodone to treat insomnia or other sleep disorders. A study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2014 found the drug to be very effective in treating sleep disturbances in people with Alzheimer’s disease. trazodone dosage improved nighttime sleep but did not affect thinking or brain function. Taking the drug did not lead to daytime sleepiness or naps.
Before taking Trazodone, make sure you tell your doctor if you have:
Any mental health disorders
Diarrhea or vomiting
History of substance abuse
Anyone taking the drug should let their doctor know about any family history of suicide or suicidal attempts.
If you are a man, let your doctor know if you have any problem with an erection that will not go away.
It’s important to tell your doctor if you have symptoms of aggression, irritability, panic attacks, extreme worry, restlessness, and acting without thinking, abnormal excitement, or any thought of suicide when you start the drug.
You should also let your friends and family know if you have these symptoms or worsening symptoms of depression.
If you have any thoughts of suicide or if a friend or family member thinks you are acting strangely, call a doctor right away.
Stopping trazodone suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms that include anxiety, agitation, and difficulty sleeping.
How it works
It isn’t fully understood how trazodone works. It may increase serotonin activity in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps maintain mental balance.
Consume trazodone as prescribed by your doctor. The drug comes in different forms. Each form is released into your body in different ways, so the dosage for each is different. Take only the form that your doctor recommended you and take it exactly in the same amount. Follow the preventive measure and directions given in the prescription. Do not take this medicine in larger or lesser amounts as prescribed by the physician nor for a longer period of time than recommended.
Immediate- release tablet:
Typical starting dosage: 150mg taken once per day.
Dosage increases: your doctor may increase your dose by 50mg per day every 3 or 4 days.
Maximum dosage: 400mg per day in divided doses. If you’re staying in a hospital, the maximum dosage is 600 mg per day.
Typical starting dosage: 150mg taken once per day.
Dosage increases: your doctor may increase your dose by 75mg per day in every 3 days.
Maximum dosage: 375mg per day.
The drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years of age.
Trazodone side effects
- Intake of this drug causes increased suicidal thoughts. The patient should be taken care of if he tries suicidal attempts.
- Changes in mood or anxiety. This may include sudden changes in behavior, aggressive violent behavior, and mood swings.
- Panic attacks.
- The patient may find trouble sleeping and become restless. He may get talkative or have an extreme increase in activity.
- Over-thinking. The patient might be occupied by several thoughts and face trouble concentrating, confusion, nervousness.
- There can be some life threatening allergic reactions like trouble breathing, skin rashes, hives, sweating, a swollen gland that does not go away, yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes (jaundice), development of bruises, unusual bleeding, severe tiredness or weakness, unexpected muscle pain and frequent infections.
- Do not take this drug again if you face any of the stated side effects. Consult your doctor as soon as possible.
- Stomach or chest pains, new or worsening depression
- Burning or tingling sensation or numbness
- Ringing in the ears
- Kidney problems like little or no urination, painful and difficult urination, swollen ankles
- Severe skin reactions like swelling up of the face, lips, and tongue, skin pain followed by a red or purple rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling.
- Memory problems, headaches, muscle aches, dizziness, and drowsiness.
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or stomach ache
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Loss of interest in sex (erectile dysfunction in men)
- Dry mouth or dry eyes
- Irregular heartbeat
- A painful erection that will not go away (priapism)
Trazodone also might cause some people to have auditory hallucinations while taking the drug.
- Trazodone has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from FDI. A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drugs effects that may be dangerous.
- Serotonin syndrome warning. This drug can cause life-threatening serotonin syndrome. This risk is higher when you first start taking this drug or during dose changes. Your risk may be increased if you have other drugs that have similar effects as trazodone. Symptoms include agitation, hallucinations, confusion, coma, coordination problems, muscle twitching, stiff muscles, racing heart rate, high/low blood pressure, etc.
- Angle-closure glaucoma Warning: this drug can cause pupils to be slightly bigger and lead to a type of high pressure in your eyes.
- For pregnant women. Research in animals has shown adverse effect of the drug on the fetus. But there haven’t been enough studies on humans to be certain about how it affects the fetus.
- For breastfeeding women. Trazodone may pass into the breast milk and cause serious side effect to the infant.
- Take the drug on time. Do not stop taking it suddenly or don’t take it at all. If you miss doses your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. In order for this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body.
- Do not overdose. You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of overdose may include an erection that may last for more than 6 hours, stopped breathing, seizures, and changes in the way your heart functions, including QT prolongation.
- If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you remember just a few hours before the time of your next dose, then just take only one. Never ever try to take two tablets at a time.
- Avoid alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking trazodone. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of sleepiness or dizziness from trazodone.
Trazodone is a drug which should be consumed carefully and on time. It should be taken in appropriate amounts as disturbed intake of the drug can severely affect your body. Report the side effects to your physician as soon as possible.