Trazodone | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

trazodone, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Desyrel (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for trazodone

Oral tablet
1

Trazodone is used to treat depression.

2

This drug is available as an immediate-release tablet and an extended-release tablet you take by mouth.

3

Trazodone is available as a brand-name drug called Oleptro as an extended-release tablet. It’s also available as a generic drug as an immediate-release tablet.

4

The more common side effects of this drug include sleepiness, dizziness, constipation, and blurred vision.

5

In some cases, trazodone can cause serious side effects. serious side effects. These include thoughts of suicide (harming yourself). This risk is higher for children, teens, and young adults within the first few months of treatment.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

Trazodone has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Suicide risk warning. Drugs used to treat depression, including trazodone, may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts or actions (thoughts or behaviors of harming yourself). This risk is higher in children, teenagers, or young adults. It’s also higher within the first few months of treatment with this drug or during dose changes. You and your family members, caregivers, and doctor should watch for any new or sudden changes in your mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. Call your doctor right away if you have any changes.

Serotonin syndrome

This drug can cause a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. This risk is higher when you first start taking this drug or during dose changes. Your risk may be higher if you also take other drugs that have similar effects as trazodone, such as other drugs used to treat depression. Symptoms include agitation, hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that isn’t there), confusion or trouble thinking, coma (being unconscious for a long time), coordination problems, muscle twitching (overactive reflexes), stiff muscles, racing heart rate, high or low blood pressure, sweating, fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Call your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.

Angle-closure glaucoma

This drug can cause your pupils to be slightly bigger and lead to a type of high pressure in your eyes (angle-closure glaucoma). If you’re at high risk for this condition, your doctor may give you a medication to help prevent it.

Bleeding

Taking this drug with other medications that affect your ability to stop bleeding may increase your risk of bleeding. This includes life-threatening, serious bleeding and bleeding-related events, such as nosebleeds, bruising, or skin discoloration due to bleeding below your skin. These drugs include warfarin, dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and pain drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and aspirin.

Drug features

Trazodone is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral immediate-release tablet and an oral extended-release tablet.

Trazodone immediate-release tablet is available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Why it’s used

Trazodone is used to treat depression in adults.

How it works

Trazodone belongs to a class of drugs called antidepressants.

More Details

How it works

Trazodone belongs to a class of drugs called antidepressants. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

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.

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trazodone Side Effects

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More common side effects

The more common side effects of trazodone can include:

  • sleepiness

  • dizziness

  • constipation

  • blurred vision

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Thoughts of suicide and worsening depression. Symptoms include:

    • thoughts about suicide or dying
    • attempts to commit suicide
    • new or worse depression
    • new or worse anxiety
    • feeling very agitated or restless
    • panic attacks
    • insomnia (trouble sleeping)
    • new or worse irritability
    • acting aggressive, angry, or violent
    • acting on dangerous impulses
    • mania (an extreme increase in activity and talking)
    • other unusual changes in behavior or mood
  • Serotonin syndrome. Symptoms include:

    • agitation
    • confusion or trouble thinking
    • hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that isn’t there)
    • problems with coordination
    • fast heart rate
    • tight muscles
    • trouble walking
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
  • Vision problems. Symptoms include:

    • eye pain
    • changes in your vision, such as blurred vision or visual disturbances
    • swelling or redness in or around your eye
  • Irregular or fast heartbeat or faint

  • Low blood pressure. Symptoms include:

    • dizziness or fainting when you change positions, such as standing up from a sitting position
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding

  • Erection that lasts longer than 6 hours

  • Hyponatremia (low sodium in your blood). Symptoms include:

    • headache
    • weakness
    • confusion
    • trouble concentrating
    • memory problems
    • feeling unsteady when you walk
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

This drug may cause thoughts of suicide (harming yourself), especially in teenagers and young adults. You and your family members, caregivers, and doctor should pay attention to any unusual changes in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings.

Trazodone may cause your blood pressure to drop too much. A sudden drop in blood pressure may occur when you stand up from a sitting or lying position. This may cause you to faint.

Trazodone may cause drowsiness or sleepiness. You shouldn’t drive, use machinery, or do other activities that require alertness until you know how this drug affects you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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trazodone May Interact with Other Medications

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Trazodone can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

The use of drinks that contain alcohol can increase your risk of sleepiness or dizziness from trazodone. If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs you should not use with trazodone

Do not take these drugs with trazodone. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in the body. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOIs), such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine, tranylcypromine, or selegiline.You shouldn’t take these drugs together or within 14 days of each other. Doing so increases your risk of serotonin syndrome.

Interactions that can cause more side effects

Taking trazodone with certain medications may cause more side effects.These drugs include:

  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants. Trazodone may make your response to barbiturates and other CNS depressants stronger.
  • Warfarin. Taking trazodone with warfarin can increase your risk for bleeding. Your doctor will watch you closely.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or aspirin. Trazodone may increase your risk of bleeding when used with these drugs.
  • Depression drugs, such as citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine, duloxetine, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, and St. John’s wort. Taking these drugs together may increase your risk of serotonin syndrome. This condition can be life-threatening.
  • Digoxin. Taking trazodone with digoxin may increase the levels of digoxin in your body. This could increase your risk of side effects from digoxin. These include vomiting, dizziness, vision problems, and irregular heart rate. Your doctor may monitor the level of digoxin in your blood if you take these drugs together.
  • Phenytoin. Taking trazodone with digoxin may increase the levels of phenytoin in your body. This could increase your risk of side effects from phenytoin. These include constipation, changes in mood, confusion, and balance problems. Your doctor may monitor the level of phenytoin in your blood if you take these drugs together.
  • Fluconazole or clarithromycin. The level of trazodone in your body may increase if you take it with fluconazole or clarithromycin. This can increase your risk of side effects from trazodone. These include constipation, serotonin syndrome, and vision problems. Your doctor may lower your trazodone dose if you take either of these drugs with trazodone.

Interactions that can make drugs less effective

Certain drugs may decrease the levels of trazodone in your body and make your dosage of trazodone less effective. You doctor may need to increase your dosage of trazodone when you take it with these drugs. These drugs include:

  • Phenytoin and carbamazepine

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with heart disease

If you have heart disease, ask your doctor whether this drug is safe for you. Taking trazodone may cause irregular heartbeat and a prolonged QT interval (a heart rhythm issue that may cause chaotic or abnormal heart beats). Your doctor may watch you closely if you take this drug.

People with angle-closure glaucoma

This drug may make your pupils bigger and may cause an angle closure attack.

Pregnant women

Trazodone is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Women who are breast-feeding

Trazodone may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

If you’re over the age of 65 years, you may be at higher risk of developing side effects while taking this drug. This includes hyponatremia (low salt levels in your blood).

For children

The safety and effectiveness of this drug haven’t been established in children. This drug shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

Allergies

Trazodone can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your face, tongue, eyes, or mouth
  • rash, hives (itchy welts), or blisters, alone or with a fever or joint pain

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take trazodone (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Major depressive disorder

Generic: trazodone

Form: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, and 300 mg

Brand: Oleptro

Form: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 150 mg, 300 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

Immediate-release tablet:

  • Typical starting dosage: 150 mg per day taken in divided doses
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your dose by 50 mg per day every 3 or 4 days.
  • Maximum dose: 400 mg per day taken in divided doses if you’re not staying in a hospital. If you’re staying in a hospital, the maximum dose is 600 mg per day.

Extended-release tablet:

  • Typical starting dosage: 150 mg taken once per day
  • Dosage increases: Your doctor may increase your dose by 75 mg every three days.
  • Maximum dose: 375 mg per day
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years of age.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Trazodone comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all

If you stop taking this drug suddenly or don’t take it, your depression may not get better. You may also have withdrawal symptoms. These include anxiety, agitation, and trouble sleeping. If you need to stop taking this drug, your doctor will slowly lower your dose over time.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of trazodone in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • erection that lasts longer than six hours
  • stopped breathing
  • seizures
  • changes in the way your heart functions, including QT prolongation (a heart rhythm issue that may cause chaotic or abnormal heart beats)

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

You should have decreased feelings of depression and your mood should improve.

Trazodone is used for long-term treatment.

Food guidelines

The immediate-release tablet should be taken shortly after a meal or snack. The extended-release tablet should be taken on an empty stomach.

This drug should be swallowed whole

Or you can break it in half along the score line (indented line down the center of the tablet) and swallow it. Don’t chew or crush trazodone tablets.

Store this drug carefully

  • Store trazodone at room temperature. Keep it between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C). Keep it away from light.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

You and your doctor should monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. These issues include:

  • Eye exam. You may be at risk of angle closure glaucoma. Your doctor may do an eye exam and treat you if needed.
  • Mental health and behavioral problems. You and your doctor should watch for any changes in your behavior and mood. This drug can cause new mental health and behavior problems. It can also make problems you already have worse.

Not every pharmacy stocks all forms or brands of this drug

When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for certain forms or brands of this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does trazodone Cost?

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Target (CVS) $3.99
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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for trazodone on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

Show Sources

Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on November 29, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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