Medication Guide App

Desyrel Side Effects

Generic Name: trazodone

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of trazodone. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Desyrel.

Not all side effects for Desyrel may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to trazodone: oral tablet, oral tablet extended release

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by trazodone (the active ingredient contained in Desyrel). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking trazodone:

More common
  • Blurred vision
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • lightheadedness
  • sweating
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Less common
  • Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • confusion about identity, place, and time
  • decreased concentration
  • fainting
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • lack of coordination
  • muscle tremors
  • nervousness
  • pounding in the ears
  • shortness of breath
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • swelling
  • Skin rash
  • unusual excitement

Some of the side effects that can occur with trazodone may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common
  • Dry mouth (usually mild)
  • muscle or bone pain
  • trouble sleeping
  • trouble with remembering
  • unpleasant taste
Less common
  • Constipation
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • diarrhea
  • hearing loss
  • muscle aches or pains
  • weight loss

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to trazodone: compounding powder, oral tablet, oral tablet extended release

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects are common and include drowsiness and sedation in as many as 50% of treated patients. Dizziness (10% to 30%), sleep abnormalities, headache, fatigue and, more rarely, seizures, dystonia, akathisia, myoclonus, palinopsia (persistence or reappearance of an image of a recently viewed object), and extrapyramidal symptoms have been reported. One case of serotonin syndrome has been reported which is believed to have been precipitated by the combination of venlafaxine and trazodone (the active ingredient contained in Desyrel)

Nearly all selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, mixed serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and tricyclic antidepressants cause sleep abnormalities to some extent. These antidepressants have marked dose-dependent effects on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, causing reductions in the overall amount of REM sleep over the night and delays the first entry into REM sleep (increased REM sleep onset latency (ROL)), both in healthy subjects and depressed patients. The antidepressants that increase serotonin function appear to have the greatest effect on REM sleep. The reduction in REM sleep is greatest early in treatment, but gradually returns towards baseline during long-term therapy; however, ROL remains long. Following discontinuation of therapy the amount of REM sleep tends to rebound. Some of these drugs (i.e., bupropion, mirtazapine, nefazodone, trazodone, trimipramine) appear to have a modest or minimal effect on REM sleep.


Psychiatric side effects have been reported and include mania, paranoia, hypomania (during and following therapy), increased libido, delirium, agitation, psychosis, hallucinations and self- destructive behavior.


Some investigators have suggested that trazodone (the active ingredient contained in Desyrel) exerts fewer adverse cardiovascular effects than many other antidepressants.

Cardiovascular side effects including arrhythmias, hypotension, peripheral edema, postural hypotension, ventricular ectopy, ventricular tachycardia, torsades de pointes, rapid atrial fibrillation, heart block, and other conduction abnormalities have been reported.


Priapism has been rarely reported (0.01% to 0.1%). Priapism has occurred with doses of 50 to 150 mg daily and typically within the first 28 days of treatment. Approximately one-third of affected individuals have required surgical intervention. It has been suggested that trazodone (the active ingredient contained in Desyrel) s alpha-adrenergic blocking properties may contribute to the induction of priapism.

One case of spontaneous orgasms in an elderly postmenopausal woman has also been reported.

Genitourinary side effects including priapism, clitoral priapism, ejaculatory inhibition, and anorgasmia have been reported.


Anticholinergic (and possibly alpha-adrenergic blocking) side effects have been reported, although much less frequently than with many other antidepressants. The effects reported include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, and urinary retention.


Hepatic side effects including cases of chronic active hepatitis and drug-induced hepatotoxicity have been reported rarely.

One case of severe hepatotoxicity followed a four day course of trazodone therapy.


Dermatologic side effects including erythema multiforme, leukocytoclastic vasculitis, pustular psoriasis, drug eruptions, and acute peripheral edema have been reported rarely.


Hematologic side effects have included alterations in laboratory studies such as significant decreases in hematocrit, hemoglobin, red blood cell count, serum cholesterol, serum calcium, and serum albumin levels. Pseudoanemia (laboratory findings suggestive of anemia without pathologic significance) has been reported in 36% of treated patients.


Endocrine side effects have included hyperprolactinemia and hyponatremia (in association with the syndrome of inappropriate secretion of antidiuretic hormone).


Gastrointestinal side effects have included dry mouth (up to 34%) and constipation.

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