Skip to Content
Could you or a loved one be experiencing depression?

Nefazodone

Generic Name: nefazodone (ne FAZ oh done)
Brand Name: Serzone

Medically reviewed: December 15, 2017

What is nefazodone?

Nefazodone is an antidepressant. It is used to treat depression, including major depressive disorder.

Nefazodone is not chemically similar to other groups of antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or "SSRIs", tricyclic antidepressants, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors or "MAOIs."

Nefazodone may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Do not take nefazodone together with carbamazepine (Tegretol), cisapride (Propulsid), pimozide (Orap), or an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam).

There are many other medicines that can interact with nefazodone. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

You may have thoughts about suicide when you first start taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Before taking this medicine

You should not take this medication if you are allergic to nefazodone or trazodone (Desyrel), or if you have ever had liver problems caused by taking nefazodone.

Do not take nefazodone if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • carbamazepine (Tegretol);

  • cisapride (Propulsid);

  • pimozide (Orap); or

  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam).

Serious and sometimes fatal reactions can occur when these medicines are taken with nefazodone. You must wait at least 14 days after stopping an MAO inhibitor before you can take nefazodone. You must wait 7 days after stopping nefazodone before you can take an MAOI.

If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take nefazodone:

You may have thoughts about suicide while taking an antidepressant, especially if you are younger than 24 years old. Tell your doctor if you have worsening depression or suicidal thoughts during the first several weeks of treatment, or whenever your dose is changed.

Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your doctor will need to check you at regular visits for at least the first 12 weeks of treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether nefazodone is harmful to an unborn baby. Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

It is not known whether nefazodone passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take nefazodone?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from the medication.

You may take nefazodone with or without food.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are taking nefazodone. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

It may take several weeks of using this medicine before your symptoms improve. For best results, keep using the medication as directed.

Store nefazodone at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next regularly scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and take the next one as directed. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have taken too much of this medication. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, extreme drowsiness, or seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking nefazodone?

Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking nefazodone.

Nefazodone can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.

Nefazodone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any new or worsening symptoms such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Stop taking nefazodone and call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • nausea, stomach pain, loss of appetite, itching, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;

  • seizure (convulsions);

  • penis erection that is painful or lasts 4 hours or longer;

  • fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or

  • feeling like you might pass out.

Less serious side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Nefazodone dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Depression:

Initial dose: 200 mg orally per day in two divided doses
Maintenance dose: 300 to 600 mg orally per day

Comments:
-Dose increases should occur in increments of 100 mg per day to 200 mg per day, on a 2 times a day schedule, and at intervals of no less than 1 week.
-Several weeks may be required for full effect.
-Patients in long-term studies were followed for up to 52 weeks; patients receiving prolonged treatment should be periodically assessed for usefulness.

Use: Treatment of depression, including major depressive disorder

Usual Geriatric Dose for Depression:

Elderly or debilitated patients:
-Initial dose: 100 mg orally per day administered in two divided doses
-Maintenance dose: Up to 300 to 600 mg orally per day

Comments:
-Since these patients often have reduced drug clearance and/or increased sensitivity to the side effects, it may be appropriate to modify the rate of subsequent dose titration.
-Several weeks may be required for full effect.
-Patients in long-term studies were followed for up to 52 weeks; patients receiving prolonged treatment should be periodically assessed for usefulness.

Use: Treatment of depression, including major depressive disorder

What other drugs will affect nefazodone?

Cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures or anxiety may add to the side effects of nefazodone. Tell your doctor if you regularly use any of these medicines, or any other antidepressants.

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially:

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with nefazodone. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Hide