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Trazodone Patient Tips

How it works

Trazodone is used to treat depression and insomnia and is thought to work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.


  • Effective for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).
  • May be used “off-label” for insomnia (problems with sleeping) in adults. Off-label means the use is not FDA approved but may be an accepted use.
  • Has not been associated with drug-seeking behavior.


If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Dry mouth, headache, constipation, diarrhea, and sexual dysfunction. A discontinuation syndrome (symptoms include anxiety, agitation and sleep disturbances) may occur on withdrawal; taper dosage off slowly under a doctor's advice.
  • May increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in young adults, children, and teenagers within the first months of treatment (similar to other antidepressants).
  • May cause drowsiness or dizziness and affect a person's ability to drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcohol.
  • Hyponatremia and low blood pressure (particularly when going from a sitting to a standing position) may occur. Rarely, may cause ECG changes in the heart and priapism (painful erections lasting more than 6 hours in duration).
  • May precipitate mania in people with bipolar disorder.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

Bottom Line

Trazodone is an effective antidepressant but may cause drowsiness and withdrawal symptoms on discontinuation.


  • Take immediate-acting tablets shortly after a meal or light snack. If approved by your doctor, may take the majority of the dosage at bedtime to limit the side effect of drowsiness.
  • Slow release tablets should be taken at the same time every day in the late evening, preferably at bedtime, on an empty stomach. Swallow whole, or take half by breaking along the scored line. Do not chew or crush.
  • Do not stop suddenly as withdrawal symptoms may occur. Slow dosage reduction over weeks to months is recommended.
  • Families and caregivers should monitor patients for worsening of depression or suicidal thoughts, particularly during the first few months of therapy, and communicate concerns with the prescriber. Also, monitor for symptoms of serotonin syndrome (agitation, confusion, fast heart rate, muscle rigidity or twitching, heavy sweating, diarrhea).
  • Trazodone hydrochloride tablets should not be used within 14 days of a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) drug.
  • Have your pharmacist check for drug interactions.
  • Report any fever, sore throat (or other signs of infection) to a doctor.

Response and Effectiveness

  • Peak concentrations are reached within 1 hour if taken on an empty stomach or 2 hours if taken with food.
  • In clinical studies, approximately 75% of patients saw an improvement in symptoms of depression by the second week of treatment; however, some patients may require at least four weeks for the full effects to be noticed.


Trazodone [package insert]. Revised 11/2015. Torrent Pharmaceuticals Limited. Accessed 02/2016

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

  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. It is an informational resource designed as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of this information. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Revision Date: 2016-02-26 00:00:00