- What is trazodone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- Is trazodone available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for trazodone?
- What are the side effects of trazodone?
- What is the dosage for trazodone?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with trazodone?
- Is trazodone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about trazodone?
What is trazodone, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Trazodone is an oral antidepressant drug that affects the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) within the brain that nerves use to communicate with (stimulate) each other. The major neurotransmitters are acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. Many experts believe that an imbalance among the different neurotransmitters is the cause of depression. Although the exact mechanism of action of trazodone is unknown, it probably improves symptoms of depression by inhibiting the uptake of serotonin by nerves in the brain. This results in more serotonin to stimulate other nerves. Trazodone also may increase directly the action of serotonin. Trazodone is chemically unrelated to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) or the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors). It is chemically related to nefazodone (Serzone) and shares its actions. Trazodone was approved by the FDA in 1982.
What are the side effects of trazodone?
The most common side effects associated with trazodone are:
Quick GuidePhysical Symptoms of Depression in Pictures
What is the dosage for trazodone?
For the treatment of depression, the dose for adults is 150-600 mg per day of regular tablets.
- The initial starting dose usually is 150 mg per day which is increased by 50 mg/day every 3-7 days.
- Trazodone regular tablets are given in one or more daily doses, sometimes with the largest dose at night.
- The dose of extended release tablets are 150 mg at bedtime initially which is increased by 75 mg/day every 3 days. Extended release tablets should be swallowed whole and not crushed or chewed. The maximum dose is 375 mg daily.
- As with all antidepressants, it may take several weeks for the full effects of treatment to be seen. Doses often are adjusted slowly upwards to find the optimal dose.
- Elderly patients and debilitated persons may need lower doses.
- Trazodone should be taken after a meal or light snack to reduce the risk of dizziness. Food also increases the amount of drug absorbed into the body.
Doses of 25-75 mg are prescribed for insomnia.
Which drugs or supplements interact with trazodone?
All antidepressants that increase concentrations of serotonin in the brain, including trazodone, should not be taken with MAO-inhibitors. Drugs in the MAO-inhibitor class include isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and procarbazine (Matulane). Such combinations may lead to confusion, high blood pressure and tremor. This same type of interaction may occur when trazodone is used with selegiline (Eldepryl). If a patient is switched from trazodone to an MAO inhibitor, at least one week should be allowed after stopping trazodone before the MAO inhibitor is begun. After stopping an MAO inhibitor, two weeks should elapse before starting trazodone.
Increased blood concentrations of digoxin (Lanoxin) and phenytoin (Dilantin) have been reported in persons taking trazodone due to a decrease in the metabolism (break-down and elimination) of these drugs by trazodone.
Carbamazepine (Tegretol) may decrease blood levels of trazodone by increasing its elimination from the body. Ketoconazole (Nizoral), ritonavir (Norvir), and indinavir (Crixivan) inhibit the breakdown of trazodone leading to increased blood levels of trazodone and potential side effects.
Drugs that increase serotonin may cause bleeding. Therefore, combining trazodone with aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin (Coumadin) or other drugs that affect bleeding may increase the likelihood of upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
Is trazodone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
There are no adequate studies of trazodone in pregnant women. Studies in animals have demonstrated effects on the developing fetus. Trazodone should only be used during pregnancy if the physician feels that its benefits outweigh its potential risks.
Trazodone is secreted in breast milk. Therefore, caution should be used in prescribing trazodone to women who are breastfeeding.
What else should I know about trazodone?
What preparations of trazodone are available?
Tablets: 50, 100, 150, and 300 mg; Tablets (Extended Release): 150 and 300 mg.
How should I keep trazodone stored?
Store at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F)
Priapism, (including clitoral priapism in women) a painful condition in which the penis (or clitoris) remains in an erect position for a prolonged period, has been reported in patients receiving trazodone. Priapism occasionally results in permanent impairment of erectile function or impotence. Patients should be warned of the possibility of priapism and told to discontinue the drug at once and consult with their physician if this reaction occurs. Trazodone also may affect ejaculation, orgasm and libido.
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of trazodone or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior.
Trazodone (Desyrel) is a medication prescribed for the treatment of depression; and also in combination with other drugs to treat panic attacks, aggressive behavior, agoraphobia, or cocaine withdrawal.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Depression Quiz: Signs & Symptoms
Many people do not recognize the symptoms and warning signs of depression and depressive disorders in children and adults. With...
Learn to Spot Depression: Symptoms, Warning Signs, Medication
What is depression? Get information on symptoms, signs, tests, and treatments for many types of depression including major...
Depression Tips: Exercise, Diet, Stress Reduction, and More in Pictures
The right exercise, diet, and activities -- even playing with a pet --can help you recover from depression. Learn simple...
Depression Myths: Overwork, Recklessness and More in Pictures
Explore the myths and facts about depression. See how folk remedies and half-truths still prevent many from getting treatment for...
Physical Symptoms of Depression in Pictures
Depression can cause physical problems such as insomnia, chest pain, fatigue, headaches, and more. Learn the signs of depression...
Healthy Aging: Sneaky Depression Triggers in Pictures
There are many causes and triggers of depression. From too little vitamin B12 to too much time alone, look at these surprising...
Depression Therapy: Myths, Facts, and More in Pictures
False ideas scare many depression suffers away from therapy and the quick relief and help these pros can provide. Let our experts...
Related Disease Conditions
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one...
Scleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include...
Nightmares are dreams that cause high anxiety or terror. Nightmares may be a part of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and...
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes...
Sleepwalking (Causes, Symptoms, Treatment)
Sleepwalking is a condition in which an individual walks or does other activities while asleep. Factors associated with...
Depression in teenagers may be caused by many factors. Symptoms of teen depression include apathy, irresponsible behavior,...
Depression in the Elderly
Depression in the elderly is very common. That doesn't mean, though, it's normal. Treatment may involve antidepressants,...
Insomnia (Symptoms, Causes, Remedies, and Cures)
Insomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep; waking up...
Dysthymia is a less severe form of chronic depression. Symptoms and signs include insomnia, suicidal thoughts, guilt, empty...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Depression FAQs
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- What Guides Docs' Sleeping Pill Picks? 'Same Old Same Old,' Study Says
- 'Off-Label' Antidepressants Common, But Where's the Evidence?
- 1 in 6 U.S. Adults Takes a Psychiatric Drug: Study
- Antidepressants Not Just for Depression Any More
- Sleeping Pills May Spell Trouble for Older Drivers
- Beware Safety Risks Posed by 'Off-Label' Drug Use
- Car Crash Risk Doubles for New Users of Sleeping Pills, Study Finds
- Antidepressants Linked to First-Time Seizures
- No Proof Drugs Ease Kids' Migraines: Study
- Newer Antidepressants Work Equally Well, Study Finds
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top trazodone Related Articles
DepressionDepression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. The principal types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (also called manic-depressive disease).
Depression in the ElderlyDepression in the elderly is very common. That doesn't mean, though, it's normal. Treatment may involve antidepressants, psychotherapy, or electroconvulsive therapy.
Depression SlideshowWhat is depression? Get information on symptoms, signs, tests, and treatments for many types of depression including major depression, chronic depression, teen depression, and postpartum depression.
Depression QuizMany people do not recognize the symptoms and warning signs of depression and depressive disorders in children and adults. With proper diagnosis, treatments and medications are available. Take this quiz to learn more about recovery from depression.
Depression Tips SlidesThe right exercise, diet, and activities -- even playing with a pet --can help you recover from depression. Learn simple lifestyle changes you can do to improve your mood.
DysthymiaDysthymia is a less severe form of chronic depression. Symptoms and signs include insomnia, suicidal thoughts, guilt, empty feeling, loss of energy, helplessness, sluggishness, and persistent aches and pains. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and antidepressants.
InsomniaInsomnia is the perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep. Secondary insomnia is the most common type of insomnia. Treatment for insomnia include lifestyle changes, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication.
Myths and Facts About Depression SlideshowExplore the myths and facts about depression. See how folk remedies and half-truths still prevent many from getting treatment for depression. Learn about the unusual symptoms and many ways to recover from depression.
NightmaresNightmares are dreams that cause high anxiety or terror. Nightmares may be a part of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and they usually occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. There are several different treatment options for nightmares, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications.
Depression Physical SymptomsDepression can cause physical problems such as insomnia, chest pain, fatigue, headaches, and more. Learn the signs of depression that show up in the body.
Postpartum DepressionPostpartum depression is a form of depression that occurs within a year after delivery. It is thought that rapid hormone changes after childbirth may lead to depression. Symptoms of postpartum depression include crying a lot, headaches, chest pains, eating too little or too much, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawal from friends and family, and feeling irritable, sad, hopeless, worthless, guilty, and overwhelmed. Treatment typically involves talk therapy and medication.
Posttraumatic Stress DisorderPost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, sweating, rapid heart rate, detachment, amnesia, sleep problems, irritability, and exaggerated startle response. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, group support, and medication.
SclerodermaScleroderma is an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue. It is characterized by the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and organs of the body, leading to thickness and firmness of involved areas. Scleroderma is also referred to as systemic sclerosis, and the cause is unknown. Treatment of scleroderma is directed toward the individual features that are most troubling to the patient.
SleepwalkingSleepwalking is a condition in which an individual walks or does other activities while asleep. Factors associated with sleepwalking include genetic, environmental, and physiological. Episodes of sleepwalking may include quiet walking to agitated running. Conditions that may have similar symptoms of sleepwalking, but are not include night terrors, confusional arousals, and nocturnal seizures. Treatment of sleepwalking generally include preventative measures. Medication may be prescribed if necessary.
Teen DepressionDepression in teenagers may be caused by many factors. Symptoms of teen depression include apathy, irresponsible behavior, sadness, sudden drop in grades, withdrawal from friends, and alcohol and drug use. Treatment of depression in adolescents may involve psychotherapy and medications.